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Review: Baymore's Heir by Lynn Lorenz
Title: Baymore’s Heir
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Author’s website: http://www.lynnlorenz.com/
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Release Date: January 2010
Genre: Historical Romance (m/m and m/f)
Sensuality Level: 3
Reviewed by: BD Whitney
For two years, Lord William Holcomb and Jackson, Duke of Baymore, have lived together as lovers at Baymore Castle. With Will acting as Jackson’s steward, the two have cleaned up the mess that Jackson’s father and younger brother Hugh left upon their deaths, winning the affection of Baymore’s people once again as well as restoring Baymore’s good name. Jackson is a man of honor, and he knows that the oath he swore to keep his people safe cannot be upheld if he doesn’t have an heir. And while the two men are blissfully happy together, an heir is the one thing that Will is incapable of providing for Jackson. Jackson vows to take a wife, and the job of finding and procuring said wife falls to none other than his steward.
With a shattered heart, Will sets about fulfilling his duty as steward to his duke, and after a series of discreet inquiries and correspondence, he writes up a marriage contract between his lover and Lady Beth Clayton, a widow with a young daughter. Will knows that once Jackson and Beth marry, he can no longer stay at Baymore, but having been banished by his father from Holcomb, he also knows he will not be welcomed home to the family keep. He will have no place to go.
Jackson never meant to betray his lover when he decided to take a wife, but with Beth and her entourage on their way to Baymore for a wedding, there is not much he can do to get out of the marriage contract. Breaking the contract would only lead to dishonor and death. Although his heart will always belong to Will, once he is married, his body will belong to his wife. Never would he have thought that honor and duty could cause so much pain.
The third novel in Lynn Lorenz’s In the Company of Men series, Baymore’s Heir continues the story of Will and Jackson from Jackson’s Pride. In this tale, our two heroes are faced with a very real problem: since Jackson is the last of the Baymore line, he has a duty to his land and people to keep the legacy alive, and this means producing an heir. This is no insignificant feat for a man who prefers the company of men, and it threatens to tear these two absolutely devoted lovers apart.
My reaction to Baymore’s Heir? Wow. Need I say more? I found this story to be incredibly romantic, affecting, tragic in places, and one heck of a good read. This novel has two central romances: it is a continuation of the story of Jackson and Will, whose love burns as strong as it ever has, and it also focuses on the circumstances of Lady Beth Clayton, Jackson’s intended bride. If you pick this story up expecting solely a GLBT romance, then this secondary story may surprise you a bit. However, it is just as well-written and emotional as the men’s tale. I’m not going to disclose the details of Beth’s story, because I think that you deserve to have the pleasant surprise of discovering it for yourself. Suffice to say that regardless of the fact that she is a threat to the relationship between Will and Jackson, Beth is about as far from being a “bad guy” as you can get.
As is true of all Ms. Lorenz’s writing, her characters are very real, well-developed, and integral to the story. We may feel like we know Will and Jackson well from reading Jackson’s Pride (and yes, I do suggest that you read that story before beginning this one), but now that the two have settled into something akin to domestic bliss, we discover even more facets of their personalities. Will, although brilliant and beautiful and loving, seems to suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Jackson is perhaps not getting quite as much exercise as he should and has put on a pound or two. If anything, these two are even more appealing than they were in Jackson’s Pride. We are also given Lady Beth and her brother Basil, Jackson’s young page Liam, his master of arms Marcus, and a number of the lesser members of the household to enjoy.
Although there is a lot of tension in this story, there is no true antagonist in Baymore’s Heir. Jackson, Will, Basil, and Will’s father Wallace take turns teasing us with just a touch of villainy (or, in Jackson’s case, pure unadulterated cluelessness), but the truth is that this is more of a gentle, emotional romance than it is an action story.
Ms. Lorenz has outdone herself with Baymore’s Heir. This story is beautifully written and sensual. It focuses not only on romantic love but also on love for family, honor, and the duty owed by a lord to his land and people. I went into reading this story wondering if it would possibly move me to tears (yes, I’m easy that way; truly all it takes is a child and perhaps a puppy or kitten, and I’m a goner) and even queried the author as to whether or not this would make me cry; her response was on the line of a wry shrug, so I knew that perhaps I should keep a handkerchief handy…just in case. Baymore’s Heir is not a tear-jerker, but the deep emotions in this story definitely merit a tear or two upon occasion.
I would end this review encouraging Ms. Lorenz to keep up the excellent work and keep this series alive, but I’m not sure that is necessary. I’ve already spied on the horizon the next novel in her In the Company of Men series: Silent Lodge. You can bet on the fact that I’ll be waiting on the proverbial pins and needles for its release. Because I am most definitely a fan.