I absolutely loved this book. Ethan is the third and most intense book in Grace Burrowes Lonely Lords series. I've followed this series from the beginning, and have enjoyed each book in turn. However, Ethan is without a doubt, my favorite. They had an emotional plot that tugged at my heart strings, putting tears in my eyes at times. It was hard for me to read, yet I couldn't put it down.
Ethan Grey was the half-brother of Nicholas Haddonfield, the hero of the second Lonely Lords book. The bastard first born son of a powerful Earl, Ethan was banished from the family at fourteen. Instead of sending the young boy to a reputable boarding school, his coldhearted father sent Ethan to a hell hole, where he was violently assaulted and molested. Now that the old bastard is dead, Ethan has tentatively re-established contact with his family. He has guarded his secret, but remains haunted by that traumatic experience. Ethan meets Alice while visiting his brother. Alice is a governess and a friend of his brother, Nick. Ethan’s two young sons become enamored of Alice, so Ethan, who is in need of a governess, hires her for the position. Although he isn't attracted to Alice at their first meeting, he soon realizes there is more to his new governess than his first impression.
Alice was a bit of a mystery at first. She had scars- inside and out. She suffered anxiety attacks and it soon became clear that someone had hurt her very badly. Ethan saw the signs, for they were ones he knew well. He never saw Alice as weak, but as a desirable woman and one he'd like to have in his bed. He knew she'd make a wonderful mother to his sons, but he still felt unworthy of her love.
They only shared their private pain at the end, when the villain who wronged them both comes back to threaten them and the ones they hold dear. It is only then that the writer finally reveals how closely their pasts are entwined.
Burrowes did an extraordinary job on this book. To sing her praises for the romance part, I will simply say that it was wonderfully sweet. I enjoyed watching Ethan and Alice slowly fall in love. I confess there were tears in my eyes as I realized that they both felt unworthy of love because of the guilt and shame they felt for "allowing" themselves to be victimized. But it was their willingness to grasp what happiness they could find that had me totally enthralled with their characters.
Burrowes is extremely talented at giving me characters that I can relate to, but she definitely outdid herself on this one. I was totally intrigued with the enigmatic hero. I absolutely adored Ethan and Alice, and felt they were perfect for each other. Also endearing was the relationship between Ethan and his brother, Nick. I found myself championing their brotherly bond. Even after a terrible betrayal was revealed that took me completely by surprise, and made me hurt even more for Ethan.
One more book to end the series, and I just don't see how Burrowes can possibly top Ethan's story. However, she hasn't failed me yet, so I'm eager for Beckman, the final book in the series.
One last thought: If rip-your-your-heart-right-out-of-your-chest stories aren't your cup of tea....then you may want to pass on this one. But it is my opinion that this is one of those not to be missed books, and I highly recommend it.
As an innocent boy of fourteen, Ethan Grey’s titled father sent him off to a third-rate boarding school, where he was sexually assaulted by Hart Collins, a thug of a lordling. Traumatized and enraged, it took every bit of strength for Ethan to bury his past.
Alice Portman is an earl’s daughter who has taken to governessing under an assumed name after her childhood was scarred by the same Hart Collins who went after Ethan. Alice comes to Ethan’s household to look after his two little boys, where together the two grow stronger. But just as they become intimate, Hart Collins turns up and unravels everything.