What happens when a very proper British lady meets a rough-hewn blacksmith living deep in the heart of Texas? A conflagration worthy of any lightning fed wild fire. Cynthia Scott brings the story of Will Donegan and Lady Grace Aldridge to us in a fast-moving historical romance.
Will Donegan feels like he's been cursed most of his life. It's more than a birthmark that most people whispered about. It's the fact that he lost track of all his siblings when they were all farmed out to various families. Despite his searching, he hasn't been able to locate any of his brothers and sisters, even his twin, Lee. If being alone in the world isn't bad enough, add to that the absentee landlord who is also a British Lord, who is coming to visit the ranch. Will knows, from reading Mr. Dickens’ books, that the British always hate the Irish, especially the poor Irish, and even more so the poor Irish orphans. He expects to be fired as soon as they arrive.
Lady Grace Aldridge decides to accompany her father to the West to help him investigate why the ranch is losing money. She has an instinct about these sorts of things. It will be a quick trip with an easy resolution and she'll be back in England in ample time to attend a much anticipated party with her fiancÈ, Byron Barlow, Viscount of Cornstock. What she doesn't count on is the vastness of the West. Everything is so much bigger, including the men, and especially Will Donegan. There is something about him. A tingle goes through her at the touch of his hand.
Will does his best to avoid running into Grace and her father. He figures the less they see him the less chance he has of being fired. Grace, on the other hand, decides Will must be the culprit. Why else would she feel a little shiver whenever he is near? Grace’s father refuses to convict a man on his daughter’s feelings, leaving several questions unanswered like who’s the real thief, could anything ever come of the attraction between Grace and Will, and is Will really cursed?
Will’s Saving Grace has a realistic setting, appropriate conflict, and suitable dialogues. The real problem is with characterization. Lady Grace is a snob and, truly, not a bit likable. It is easy to see why the writer would soften her as the story went on, but she came off as too shallow, brittle, demanding, and rather snotty. It would have to be a magical transformation to make her somewhat palatable. The supporting characters are rather flat and predictable. There is a great deal of good in the book if you can mentally soften the main character, especially if you like the western setting.