Brander Hansen lost his hearing at age seven, his inheritance at twenty-three. Furious at his father’s betrayal, Brander leaves home to make his way as Lord Olsen, a ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ in 1721 Christiania, Norway. He intends to gain his own estate and begins buying the debt markers on Kildahlshus.
Baroness Regin Kildahl’s husband has gambled away her estate and sunk to more dangerous habits. She writes to Lord Olsen soliciting his help saving both her husband and her home. When her husband dies, Regin offers herself and her title to anyone who will redeem his gambling debts, unaware of Brander’s plan and circumventing his efforts.
The Hansen heir accepts her offer and hires Lord Olsen to deliver his bride. Brander’s choices are clear: give the widow and her estate to his younger brother, or claim them both as his own. But who would accept a deaf husband?
A Real Treat for Fans of Historical Romance!
***** (5 Stars) TOP READ
I was totally entranced by this romance by Kris Tualla. A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery is a real treat for fans of historical romance, combining passion, deceit, murder and mystery into one page-turning read. It is the first book that I have read by the author and I loved her voice and how she effortlessly pulled me into the world of early eighteenth century Norway. The angst driven romance between Brander and Regin, the hero and the heroine, is beautiful to behold and has many twists and turns.
Brander, the ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ of the title is in modern parlance a private investigator/spy, employed by others to unearth secrets and solve crimes. He is also an aristocrat, an eldest son, who, on account of his deafness and inability to speak, was disinherited by his father, who, deeming Brander unfit, made his younger son his heir. Brander is determined to make his own fortune and purchase an estate to prove his worth to himself and his estranged family. Niels, his valet and cousin works alongside him and acts as his ears and confidant.
When Brander is employed by Regin to find out about how her husband’s debts are bankrupting her home, and subsequently witnesses his death by foul means, their lives begin to get entangled. Brander has his eye on Regin’s ancestral home and unbeknown to her purchases her husband’s markers. Yet the lady, in a desperate effort to save her estate, offers her hand to any man who can pay for her debts. Brander thus finds himself in the impossible position of transporting this woman, whom he has developed strong feelings for, across the frozen countryside of Norway to his own ancestral home to deliver her into the hands of his younger brother and his father’s heir.
Brander is a tortured alpha male to die for! He is ashamed of the impact of his disability on others, believing that he is fit to be no woman’s consort and is therefore sworn off marriage. However, he is attracted to Regin unlike no other woman and they share some passionate encounters. Yet even if he was able to put his fears aside, how could he possibly expect her to want him when he has deceived her so badly on not one but two accounts? Also how will his family react when he appears at their door with his brother’s bride after they have not seen him since he stormed out of their household many years ago?
Regin has no idea who Brander is, least of all that he is the brother of her intended. Also she does not realise that the debts she is liable for are now owed to him. She is hugely attracted to him and admires him for his inner strength and tenacity on dealing with his disability and also for his skill in solving crimes, all of which become apparent during their long and arduous journey. Yet how will she react when she finds out about his duplicity? And if she can overcome his betrayal how can she persuade him that he will make a fit husband? What future can they possibly have as she is now promised to another?
Brander is so conflicted and many of the passages are truly heartrending as he battles with his emotions. Regin too fights her own battle as she embarks on a future with an unknown bridegroom whilst she is harbouring growing feelings for her escort. They are a perfect match for each other and Regin sees him first and foremost as a man, not someone with a disability. The author does an excellent job of exploring how early eighteenth century society would have treated those with hearing loss and I loved how Regin and his cousin Niels communicate with him using sign language.
The book is a standalone in that it has a definite conclusion. However, I’m pleased to note that the couple’s story continues in further books in the series.
I wholeheartedly recommend A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery to lovers of historical romance.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
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