One month ago, a new historical romance book was released into the world. Her Country Gentleman, the first in the Timeless Georgian Collection series, comprises three short stories by Sian Ann Bessey, Sarah M. Eden, and Rebecca Connolly. Kim Bretton narrates the audiobook version. It’s an endearing book that is perfect for anyone who enjoys classic love stories, countryside settings, and fluffy farm animals.
Special thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose, and Mirror Prose for the review copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review!
In the past couple of years, I have been falling in love with romance novels, especially historical romance. However, up until now, nearly all of the historical romances I’ve read have been set in the 1800s, generally in the Victorian era. The farthest back I’ve gone is the 1810s. Luckily, Her Country Gentleman has allowed me to rectify that: As the first in the Timeless Georgian Collection series, it goes back into the 1700s.
Her Country Gentleman features three short stories (each about the length of a short novella). They have four key elements that connect them, the first two of which may be clear from the book and series names. They’re all set in the Georgian era; all take place in the U.K. countryside as opposed to bustling London; all three involve sheep (!) to some degree; and in each, the hero has his identity mistaken or misunderstood, at least briefly.
Spring at Tribbley Hall by Sian Ann Bessey
The first story is set in spring 1775. Charlotte and her grandmother escape from their London home to visit an old friend in Norfolk. Soon after arriving, Charlotte wanders outside and finds a lone puppy. In her efforts to help him, she falls in the mud and is nearly attacked by the mother dog. Luckily, a man intervenes and then shows her the other animals. But he’s no farmhand, as she assumes; he’s the Baron, William Cheston. Even if the two of them could make a good match, William is rather busy with a more pressing matter: Someone is stealing his sheep. It’s also lambing season and he’s understaffed, so he’s quite busy. Before long, though, Charlotte and William bond over a newborn lamb and the mystery they must solve.
This may be the first historical romance I’ve read that is quite so thrilling! It’s a perfect combination of cozy mystery and love story. It has humor and charm, tender moments, and an exciting culmination. Although the bulk of the story spans only a few days, it sets up a lovely beginning for Charlotte and William. Spring at Tribbley Hall is a bit of an outlier here, both in terms of the mystery and in the condensed timeframe it covers, but it sets the sweet tone reflected in the following two stories.
Love of My Heart by Sarah M. Eden
It’s 1780, and Cordelia is overdue for her first season. But her hopes of entering her debut season are dashed when her parents reveal that they’re out of money. Their family must travel away from London and live somewhere more affordable… like in the Scottish countryside. Soon after arriving, Cordelia and her sister go out for a game of battledore and shuttlecock, but the game goes awry when Cordelia accidentally whacks a man in the face and gives him a nosebleed. He’s known as Sebastian of the Home Farm, and despite their not-so-cute meet-cute, they eventually form a tentative friendship. She likes the orphaned lamb that follows him around, and he likes her paintings of the local sights. But they come from two different classes, even with her family’s money issues, and a happily ever after between them could be out of reach. Except for one small detail that’s been kept under wraps…
Of the three stories, this one has the most complete and satisfying arc. Watching Cordelia and Sebastian develop a friendship, and then something more, feels natural and realistic, yet it’s also adorable. Her parents are unreasonably bothered by her painting, and they’re not afraid to strike her where it hurts when she does anything out of line. My favorite scene comes near the end, and it involves some interesting revelations that Sebastian makes in a subtly epic way. Love of My Heart is a heartfelt story that offers a perfect ending. It’s my favorite of the stories here.
Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire by Rebecca Connolly
The final story begins with Martha Smith, a young woman who just finished her first season and turned down marriage offers. She wants love, not just a convenient match. But her mom has other plans, and in order to remove thoughts of love from Martha’s head, she’s sent to live with some relatives in the countryside. These family members married for love, and look how horrible their lives are! But the joke is on her mom: Martha instantly takes to the people and landscape. She even finds a nice young man named Benjamin. He’s the new Earl of the local (and rather run-down) estate. But Martha only has six weeks before she’ll be called back to London. Will that be enough for love to bloom?
This story was gentler and lighter than the first two. Like the previous story, Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire shows our two lovebirds slowly getting to know each other and developing deeper feelings, but it’s done from a wider stance. I love the glimpses of Martha helping out Benjamin with his overwhelming estate, and I would have liked a bit more time with them. Ultimately, this has the full arc that I’d hoped for, but it comes with a bit less drama. It’s airier, though equally enjoyable.
Kim Bretton narrates each of the stories in Her Country Gentleman. She does a lovely job of bringing the characters to life, giving the characters different timbres and pitches – and even levels of raspiness – to keep them distinct. In the case of Love of My Heart, she also uses a more Scottish accent for the characters native to the area. Her narration style is even and pleasant, and she maintains a style that will keep the listener in the right frame of mind for these Georgian era love stories. Kim Bretton amplifies Her Country Gentleman with her skill and tone, making the audiobook the perfect way to enjoy this book.
Her Country Gentleman is a sweet collection of clean love stories. Each is distinct from the others, even with their common themes of sheep-farming heroes and London misses. It’s a delightful read, and I look forward to the next installment in the Timeless Georgian Collection series.
Get the Book
You can buy Her Country Gentleman here – it’s available as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
Please note that the above link is an Amazon affiliate link and I may earn a commission on any purchases you make.
|Her Country Gentleman by Sian Ann Bessey, Sarah M. Eden, & Rebecca Connolly|
|Series||Timeless Georgian Collection (#1)|
|Audiobook Narrator||Kim Bretton|
|Length of Book||7.5 hours|
|Format I Read||Audiobook|
|Original Publication Date||March 8, 2022|
London is not the only place to find love . . .
SPRING AT TRIBBLEY HALL by Sian Ann Bessey
When Charlotte’s grandmother invites her to accompany her to Norfolk, Charlotte jumps at the chance to visit the sea and escape the fuss surrounding her sister’s wedding preparations in London. Lord William Cheston, on the other hand, is most unhappy when his mother informs him that her old friend and a granddaughter are coming to stay. Not only is it lambing season, but he’s also dealing with the mysterious loss of several sheep. The last thing he needs is a child underfoot. When Charlotte and William first meet, he does not realize that the lovely young lady is the granddaughter in question, and she assumes that the man dressed in work clothes in the barn is a servant. Soon afterward, however, Charlotte stumbles upon a clue to William’s sheep’s disappearance, and when her life is placed in jeopardy, William is forced to choose between saving his unwanted houseguest and catching the thief.
LOVE OF MY HEART by Sarah M. Eden
Cordelia Wakefield has never lived anywhere but London and is not overly happy when her family is forced to retrench to a small estate near Teviotbrae, Scotland. An ill-fated game of battledore and shuttlecock brings her face-to-racquet with Sebastian, who runs the home farm at nearby Teviot Castle. What begins as a clash of personalities, expectations, and preferences, soon leads to a friendship neither had expected. As the magic of Teviotbrae weaves its spell, the possibility of something more than friendship begins to blossom. But what future is there for a lowly farmer and a London lady?
MISS SMITH GOES TO WILTSHIRE by Rebecca Connolly
Martha Smith wants to marry for love, and will not be persuaded otherwise. She is highly sought after in Society for her beauty and status, but refuses to consider any suitor whose only claim is that his prospects meet with her mother’s approval. Her widowed mother has had enough of Martha’s romantic sensibilities, and is sending her to stay with unfortunate cousins in Wiltshire to show her that marrying for love is a risk that is too great.
Benjamin Steele, Lord Hillier, is working on his new and dilapidated estate when he first catches sight of the striking Martha Smith. Becoming Lord Hillier has only brought him a house that needs significant repairs, tenant farms that had been abandoned, and only the money he’d already possessed. He wants meaning in his life, and he’s more than willing to work for it.
Though worlds apart in all else, on this point they can agree: a life of meaning would change everything.
About the Authors
Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend university in the U.S., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English.
She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children’s books. She is a USA Today best selling author and a Whitney Award finalist.
Although Sian doesn’t have the opportunity to speak Welsh very often anymore, she can still wrap her tongue around, “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.” She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she’s home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2020’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, Forget Me Not, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.
Rebecca Connolly was born in California, but grew up in the Midwest, specifically in Ohio and Indiana.
I consider myself a Midwest girl, with all of the wholesome sweetness and “girl next door” attributes that come along with that. According to home videos, I have always loved to make up stories. There was nothing simple about a game of House, and every game involving imagination had some sort of plot, whether it was fighting off dragons or being a school teacher. My elementary school had a little book press for stories by students, and I had so many little books printed [but very poorly illustrated!] that I could fill a box at home.I’ve always been a bookworm, and my grandma would send me more books almost every month so I would never run out. Book Fairs were like a carnival to me, and libraries my happy place. My creative writing professor in college once said, “In order to be a great writer, you must be a great reader.” That gave me hope, since I had been reading my entire life!I got my bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, which is where I completed my first novel, and started collecting the ideas for several others! I worked for a few years after that, dabbling in writing and reading and other activities, and then I went to get my master’s degree from West Virginia University. I came back to the Midwest after all of that, and I have no desire to leave it again!