Reviewed by Heather C
Title: Keeper’s Pledge
Author: J.L. Merrow
Series: Midwinter Manor #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 116 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 30, 2013
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A sequel to Poacher’s Fall, set four years later, in 1926.
Landowner Philip Luccombe has been enjoying a passionate relationship with young poacher turned gamekeeper Danny Costessey for four years now. Danny’s love has brought him out of the shell he retreated into when his first lover died after the Great War. But this Christmas, visitors to the manor threaten their happiness. Philip’s young cousin Matthew is artistic, vivacious, and flirtatious: just the sort to remind him of his long-dead first love—and to emphasise the social gulf between Philip and Danny.
But the worst danger comes from much nearer home. An old flame of Danny’s is discovered in incriminating circumstances, forcing the lovers to keep their distance for fear of being tarred with the same brush. Meanwhile, Danny’s younger brother, Toby, has grown to resent the connection between his brother and the lord of the manor. Danny wants to do the right thing—but that could divide the lovers forever
It’s four year after Poacher’s Fall, Danny and Philip have been sneaking as much time together in the gamekeeper’s cabin, but rumors are starting to pop up regarding the land owner and his employee. Danny is set on them spending some time apart until the talk dies down. Plus, it’s Christmastime again and instead of spending another quiet Christmas Day with his lover, Philip must entertain house guests…his cousin and probable heir. Then misunderstandings start happening all over the place and Danny and Philip’s relationship just might fall apart.
I enjoyed this story, but not quite as much as the first one. I think too much was happening for such a short novella that there wasn’t enough time to build up very much angst over Philip and Danny’s miscommunications and brief separation. Plus, it all felt a bit too predictable to me. I didn’t understand why Danny didn’t just go get his brother himself instead of bearing the responsibilities of his screw up.
I did find it interesting that Danny and Philip have had a bit of a role change this time. In Poacher’s Fall, Danny was the confident, strong one, and in this story we get to see more of his vulnerable side and the bigger sacrifices he would make for his family. I was a bit disappointed that he gave up and didn’t fight for himself. But luckily, Philip didn’t give up on the man he loves.
I did enjoy Lucy and Matthew’s characters. I can see where some people would probably strongly dislike Matthew, but he’s just a young man who hasn’t quite found his place in the world for all his flamboyance. Would like to see him get his own story.
Do Danny and Philip finally have their happily ever after? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m happy with where they are now.
Overall Impression: I Liked It
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*