Secrets Behind the Billionaire’s Return By Rachael Stewart
This is a romance novel – but not one set in an exotic location with non stop sunshine and fancy food and drinks. This book opens in a Yorkshire B&B which is perhaps past its best, and the heroine would not describe herself as glamorous. It is a heartfelt look back at a difficult past for both of the main characters, and a subtle look at how desperation and need to take action to survive has shaped the present. It is a contemporary book, but is still to an extent timeless, as the situation that the heroine is in is a version of a well known tale. This, as the back of the book says, is about “The man she never forgot, (and) The feelings she never lost” on the part of Felicity about Sebastian, but it is less certain what he feels about the woman he last saw as a teenage girl. The nature of his departure sixteen years before was unexpected by everyone, and is still shrouded in mystery. Felicity was left bereft of the very young man she loved, and because of how he suddenly left, with the unexpected consequence of their love.
This is a book which neatly combines the realities of a difficult family situation where money has been a problem with encountering someone with unimaginable wealth. There is a reality behind this book of a lovely Yorkshire setting, with a large well appointed estate. It describes with great accuracy the quietness of a supportive small community with the excesses of fame and fortune, and the challenges that both can bring with some of the advantages. The characters are so well written that they leap from the page in all their doubts and emotions, with all their assumptions and confusions. This is apparently the first book in a trilogy, and it is good to read the introduction to characters and begin to understand what motivates them. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this enjoyable book.
Sebastian is first seen driving towards the gates of a great estate that has been left uninhabited but maintained for some sixteen years. He drives an expensive car and it seems that he is very wealthy. Nevertheless as he approaches the gates he finds that he cannot bring himself to drive through them, towards the house where he has ordered a room to be prepared for him. He is so upset by the memories that he decides to go elsewhere for the night, so returns to the village and a certain Bed and Breakfast that he passed. When he arrives it is to find a cosy scene of a family of guests in a house he remembers all too well. He recognises the car outside as belonging to a certain woman, and as he enters he spots Felicity, carrying a tray of hot drinks. Her reaction to seeing him and realising who his identity is dramatic, and as she begins to recover she does not acknowledge him as anyone but a normal guest. Her teenage daughter Angel, to whom she is very close, appears and is confused about her mother’s inexplicable reactions. It is only when everyone else has departed that Sebastian engineers the opportunity to talk privately that Felicity reveals a secret that shakes Sebastian’s world, and reawakens memories and emotions he has repressed for so long. Felicity sees problems ahead based on her hard won experience, and while Sebastian perhaps believes that his financial stability will make all the difference, he begins to appreciate that emotions and feelings cannot so easily be sorted out. As both people begin to rediscover old and realise new feelings for each other, they must learn how to deal with these feelings in the new circumstances in which they find themselves.
This is a carefully written and thoughtful book which sets up an interesting set of circumstances. Sebastian has become used to enormous wealth and how it means that he can summon virtually anyone and anything. Felicity has had to learn to cope with a lot less, and yet has a relationship with her daughter which she values above everything else. This book is a clever bringing together of two people, two world views, and much more, as well as a look at various themes such as the influence of money, memory and more. I look forward to reading more of the “Claiming the Ferrington Empire”