“A Return of Devotion” is a historical fiction romance set in Marlborough, England in 1816. The main characters in this second book of the Haven Manor series are Daphne Blakemoor of Haven Manor and Marquis William Chemsford, who inherited Haven Manor from his now deceased father. There are also many other interesting characters that add humor, drama, and interest to this story
For twelve years Haven Manor has been a place of refuge for the illegitimate children of the women whom society rejected because they became pregnant out-of-wedlock. Daphne was one of those women. She, a daughter of an earl in London’s high society, made a choice one evening at masquerade ball that created an enormous life change for her, one she has paid for dearly, as she lost her status in society and her relationship with her father.
Daphne, torn by memories of her past, but trying to make the best of her life, loves taking care of the children that live at Haven Manor, children, who know they are illegitimate, but do not know who either of their parents are. One of these children, a boy named Benedict, is Daphne’s son, but he doesn’t know that and Daphne is determined he never will. Haven Manor has become Daphne’s home, a place dear to her heart, and though the work is hard and the days are long and sometimes lonely, she feels needed there and it gives her a sense of purpose to her life knowing that she might help the children grow up to have a good future.
William, a young gentleman, who has recently become Marquis of Chemsford, because of the death of his father, decides he wants to visit one of the estates that his father won in a card game. The estate is Haven Manor, although William does not know the name of it, nor anything about it, he will find that his life is about to change greatly once he steps foot on the doorstep of Haven Manor and meets Daphne, whom he is led to believe is the housekeeper.
This book with its trails of imagination led by Daphne, who is a quiet dreamer that often escapes reality thru her dreams and fantasies, is filled with energy and tension.
You, as a reader, will experience the frustration of William as he tries to determine just what to do with his life now as a Marquis, and how meeting Daphne might influence his future.
Your heart will ache for the children as they try to understand and find their places in a future society that will not be as safe and comfortable as Haven Manor has been.
You will cry with Daphne for the injustice that has been done to her, for the secrets that she has had to keep, and for the life station she has had to accept in order to survive and help her son find a future.
And, you will enjoy the roller coaster ride that Daphne and William take you on as they try to deal with their emotions in their day-to-day lives as they interact in a society that would not accept them as equals and you will wonder, right up to the last page, if there will be a “happily ever after” ending to this story.
If you have read “A Defense of Honor” which is Book 1 in this Haven Manor series, you will surely enjoy this Book 2 and will eagerly anticipate Book 3 that will be coming out later this year.
I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.
–Leona J. Atkinson