Bookish and independent Lady Helen Hawkestone is expected to marry well. But, having grown up with warring parents, the institution holds little appeal. The trick, she realizes, is to marry for love—a task that’s easier said than done. Only while Helen is raising funds for her do-gooder sister’s orphanage does she meet a man who arouses her curiosity. Lowborn and yet so dignified that Helen can’t help but try to elicit a response, Clary Homeward is an enigma—a heart-stopping, body-stirring, forget-her-social-upbringing enigma.
A single offense against a noblewoman such as Lady Helen would ruin a man like Clary. Her sister, Marisa, rescued him from hellish poverty and employs him with her charity work. Try as he might to push her away, Helen tempts him to want things he could never have. But when girls from the orphanage start disappearing, destined for a grim fate Clary knows all too well, Helen insists on helping. And soon Clary wonders whether something more were not just possible but inevitable—even right.
Praise for A Dream of Redemption
“I have seldom seen this type of story done with such care and intelligence. A truly unforgettable love story by Bronwen Evans, who seems to surpass herself with every book she writes.”—Fresh Fiction
“One of the most complex romances I have ever read . . . This is a book that held me captive. . . . [A Dream of Redemption] must be read by anyone who craves a deeply moving romance.”—Buried Under Romance (five stars)
“A beautiful story of acceptance, self-forgiveness, familial love and learning to not let your past define you . . . You must read this book.”—Flippin’ Pages
“An enjoyable read.”—Top 10 Romance Books
“Fans of Regency romances will definitely enjoy this book.”—Two Ends of the Pen
Don’t miss any of Bronwen Evans’s enchanting Disgraced Lords novels:
A KISS OF LIES | A PROMISE OF MORE | A TOUCH OF PASSION | A WHISPER OF DESIRE | A TASTE OF SEDUCTION | A NIGHT OF FOREVER | ADDICTED TO THE DUKE | A LOVE TO REMEMBER | A DREAM OF REDEMPTION
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
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“Lord Portman has a large estate in Sussex, not so far from ours.”
On a long drawn-out sigh, Helen carefully replaced her cup of tea back on its saucer on the edge of her sister’s desk.
“Please stop. I am not interested in Lord Gerald Portman, and therefore there is no need for you to sing his praises.”
Although Lord Portman was a nice enough chap, when she chose a husband the first word she thought of to describe him would not be “nice.”
Virile. Handsome. Masculine . . .
Marisa sat back in her chair and rubbed a hand over her eyes.
“I know you mean well, Marisa, but I’ve decided to stop looking for a husband.”
“You’re giving up?” her sister all but yelled. “You’re three and twenty, Helen. Time is marching on.” Marisa eyed her suspiciously. “You’re not still in love with Hadley?”
“Don’t be silly. It was youthful infatuation. I’m pleased for Hadley and Evangeline.” And she was. She had once thought that Hadley Fullerton, Duke of Claymore, was her Prince Charming but he had never shown an ounce of interest in her other than as the younger sister of his best friend, her brother Sebastian.
“Then what is stopping you finding a husband?”
Helen let her sister rant for a few more minutes before calmly saying, “I did not say I was giving up. I’m merely stepping back and allowing fate the chance to play a hand.”
Slumped over her desk, Marisa asked, “Why?”
“Because all the women I know found the love of their lives through fate. All of them married amazing, handsome men who did not primp and line up at balls to dance with them. I won’t find what I’m looking for in the middle of a waltz.”
Marisa stayed silent. There was nothing she could say. Helen’s logic was irrefutable.
“I understand what you are saying but what if fate does not throw a man in your path?”
“I’m sure fate has some plan for me. Or else I would have given in to everyone’s meddling. Sebastian is worse than you. He keeps inviting young men to dinner, only he picks the most sedate and boring men in London.”
“He’s our brother. He’s hardly likely to bring a rake home to meet you.”
They both giggled. “I don’t want a rake either.”
Marisa raised her eyebrow.
“Only an honorable rake then,” Helen conceded. “Sometimes I think the Libertine Scholars are the only handsome, rakish, honorable rogues left, and I’ve missed out.”
Marisa had married Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton and one of a group of men society dubbed the Libertine Scholars due to their love of learning and wenching in their younger days.
Marisa preened. “It’s our fifth wedding anniversary in a few days, and I’m still giddy with love.”
Helen smiled and hugged her secret to herself. Marisa’s husband, Maitland, had asked Helen to come and stay to watch over the children and nanny while he whisked Marisa off to a secret location for a few days. He told her he wanted his beautiful wife all to himself, and he knew his wife would not leave their children with only the nanny.
Helen wished she could find a man as romantic as the Duke of Lyttleton.
Marisa added, “I must admit I would not have looked twice at the young men around the ton at the moment. Perhaps your idea of letting fate take a hand is the right one. You usually find something when you least expect.”
“It would help if I knew what I was looking for.”
Just then there was a knock on the door and the children’s nanny entered. “I’m sorry, Your Grace, but little Stephen is crying and won’t settle. He wants his mother.”
Her sister rose to see to her son. “Please wait, Helen. I want to discuss a trip to the modiste with you. I want the perfect dress to wear for my wedding anniversary.”
She nodded as Marisa left the room. Helen loved her nieces and nephews. They were orphans that Marisa had collected from the various orphanages she oversaw. She owned and controlled several. Five years ago, a carriage accident had left Marisa unable to have children, and Helen once thought her sister’s world had ended, but as she might have suspected, Marisa fought back, and with the love of Maitland set about building her lovely, if somewhat unconventional, family.
Speaking of which, Helen rose and moved to the wall to look at the portraits of Marisa and Maitland’s children, and the young men and women of the orphanages that Marisa had helped over the last five years. Her sister operated several to ensure the children were well looked after and educated, in order to move into a respectable trade and have a chance in life.
Marisa really was an amazing woman. Helen tried to help when she could but being unmarried meant she did not have the same freedom that Marisa had. She wished she could do more. Sometimes the wasteful life she led choked her. Caged in, a woman with a good brain, yet unable to use it for fear of being labeled a bluestocking. What was wrong with wanting to learn and experience the world? Balls, parties, gowns were not enough. Some days she thought she’d go mad from boredom.
Just then there was another soft knock at the door. She stayed silent, thinking that if there were no reply the person on the other side of the door would believe the room was empty. Instead, the door opened and in walked Mr. Clarence Homeward, her sister’s private secretary and overseer of the orphanages.
As always her eyes appreciated the man. She was not in his line of sight so for once she could stare to her heart’s content, and her body was very content.
Over the last five years he’d grown from a young and unsure lad into a “cannot help but notice him” man. He’d filled out. He was tall, big, and all lean, hard muscle. He still had his ebony ringlets but his chiseled cheekbones and strong jaw didn’t let his hair make him look feminine. His virility and beauty knocked the breath from her lungs every time she saw him.