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Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Gentrys of Paradise #3
1871 – Born to privilege and duty in Virginia, Olivia Gentry comes of age as women begin to find their social and political independence. She has been raised and educated to carry on the Gentry family’s successful horse breeding stables with her brothers at Paradise, their family home. Having been deceived in love as a young woman and unsure of her instincts, she is wary to commit to a marriage, but she cannot deny her long-buried feelings for a family friend.
Jim Somerset has been in love with Olivia Gentry from the moment she gazed up at him as a young girl. A farrier by trade like his father before him, he and his business’s future are inexorably entwined with the Gentry family. He has watched her be courted by statesmen, and considers her and her goals out of the reach of a common workman, like himself. But he is fearful that he will never rid Olivia from his mind and from his heart. Has the moment come for him to reveal his passions for her? Find out in the third installment of the Gentrys of Paradise.
Olivia understood herself enough to know that she had lost her confidence, and even though others might see her as wealthy and educated and fortunate, which she was, she was still fragile and unsure of how her future would unfold. Any man she married or fixed on would be a central part of that future. Would define in society’s eyes whether her hopes and dreams were fulfilled, whether her personal happiness and the draw of competency and ambition she had for herself would cross paths.
She supposed that she should end her self-imposed exile. What good did it do her to hide in her room? She’d answered some of her own questions in the last four months. She did wish to marry. She wanted children of her own. She wanted a companion, a man, all for herself, not meant to be shared with others. She wanted to experience intimacy, and although she could do that outside the bounds of marriage, she couldn’t imagine it. How could one achieve the intimacy necessary to complete the act with a person that one had no relationship with, either from personal choice or law?
The final question, of course, was whether she would achieve any of those goals if love wasn’t evident. Her mother and father hadn’t been in love when they married. Yet they had grown to love each other and built a successful life together. Olivia believed that she could do as many other women had done before. Marry with purpose. Marry to achieve goals. Marry, not for love, but for compatibility and future hopes.