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The Virtuoso (Windham)
 
 

The Virtuoso (Windham) [Kindle Edition]

Grace Burrowes
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Starred review for The Soldier:

"Captivating. . .Burrowes' sensual love story is intelligent and tender." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A genius with a terrible loss. . .

Gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland, has little interest in his father's obsession to see his sons married, and instead pours passion into his music. But when Val loses his music, he flees to the country, alone and tormented by what has been robbed from him.

A widow with a heartbreaking secret. . .

Grieving Ellen Markham has hidden herself away, looking for safety in solitude. Her curious new neighbor offers a kindred lonely soul whose desperation is matched only by his desire, but Ellen's devastating secret could be the one thing that destroys them both.

Together they'll find there's no rescue from the past, but sometimes losing everything can help you find what you need most.

Praise for The Heir:

"Sweet, sexy, tender romance between two characters so vibrant they seem to leap off the page." – Meredith Duran, author of Wicked Becomes You

"Burrowes' enchanting romance charms from the beginning!" – RT Book Reviews, 4 starts

"Refreshing. . .a luminous and graceful erotic Regency." – Publishers Weekly

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 649 KB
  • Print Length: 413 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 140224570X
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (1 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005SZ0Z2A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,176 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I started writing as an antidote to empty nest and soon found it an antidote to life in general. I am the sixth out of seven children, and was raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life I spent a lot of time reading romance novels and practicing the piano. My first career was as a technical writer and editor in the Washington, DC, area, a busy profession that nonetheless left enough time to read a lot of romance novels.

It also left enough time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.

While reading yet still more romance novels (there is a trend here) I opened a law practice, acquired a master's degree in Conflict Transformation (I had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing.... romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World. ("Mom, why doesn't anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?")

I eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in "the call" started out: "I am the buffoon in the bar at the writer's retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing--and if that doesn't narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought." (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)

You can contact me though email at graceburrowes@yahoo.com or through my website at graceburrowes.com

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuoso 25 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read all the books in this series and they are well worth a read if you like historical romances and the stories of a family. Grace Burrowes is a marvellous author bringing the books to life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dukes Obsession Series 19 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Grace Burrowes brings her characters alive and one book follows on the story in the next. It improves the read to be familiar with the background characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grace Burrows does it again! 12 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I cannot fault Ms Burrowes novels, anyone reading this will have noted that this is Book 3, the first two dealing with the Virtuoso's other two brothers (they are the introduction to the Windham family), I enjoyed them so much I followed them with the Windham sisters (one book awaiting release) and two connected stand alone novels,The Courtship and The Duke and his Duchess; I have also read the Lonely Lords series (one also awaiting release) enjoyed them all so I do not intend to repeat this review for the others. The stories are clever, well written and as I came to expect from Ms Burrowes extremely difficult to put down. She has a lovely sense of period: they are sexy and sad and humorous. There is so much going on you get drawn in from the first page, when you reach the last page you can't wait to read the next. I could write more but the best way to know a book is to read it. For me it has everything I enjoy in a Regency novel and am finding it difficult to be patient. I enjoyed them so much that I romped through them, that being the case I may well start reading them again from the beginning! Can I recommend them? No, I won't! A book is a personal choice, I can only say read it and make up your own mind.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Story. Such a Shame After Synopsis 10 Dec 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I rarely write reviews for books that I really don't enjoy, but feel that despite the preview and synopsis that I'd already read, I was sure this book would be great to read, but was disappointed

This book is part of a series, and I haven't read any of the others. I didn't feel that I needed to read them to understand this story. Lord Valentine 'Val' Windham is the youngest son of the duke. Having already seen his siblings marry, he has no immediate inclination to do so, as his real love is playing the piano. But a hand injury stemming from his youth makes his hand ache and gradually makes his hand worse, which annoys him as all he wants to do is play. One day, he wins an old estate, so decides to become a regular person, just Mr Windham, and fix the property. Living in a cottage on the estate is a woman called Ellen who once kissed Val. When they meet, she is still unaware of his real title, and the pair soon find themselves falling for one another again. But Ellen is a widower, and harbours her own secret. Val is keen to keep his true name from Ellen a secret, but soon discovers she has her own secret he's keen to learn.

Ellen is a somewhat sweet natured character, having learned of Val's affliction, uses her own homemade remedies and massages his poorly hand on a daily basis. I sympathised with Val and his handicap, but the story didn't suck me in as I'd hoped. It dragged on at the beginning, Ellen's overuse of her secret burden and Val wasn't the romantic hero I had envisaged. Despite his bad hand, towards the end, I'd almost 'forgotten' about it and was annoyed at Ellen's will she/won't she tell him story. It was repeated over and over and got quite boring. The secret wasn't that surprising or interesting.

Overall, despite a promising preview, I feel that this story did not deliver and won't be reading any more by this author.

1/5
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid 3 or a very low 4 10 Nov 2011
By romancecritic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Virtuoso" is most definitely not my preference when it comes to Historical Romance. It is a very romantic romance, but it wasn't cloyingly sweet (except the ending), and the book does have good, scenic descriptions, flows smoothly, has witty dialogue, especially between and from the secondary characters, and offers a resolution to the internal struggles, if a bit contrived struggles, of the main protagonists.

Blackmailed by her husband's heir, widowed Baroness Roxbury, now masquerading as Mrs. Ellen FitzEngle, resides in a small cottage on an estate in Little Meldon, where she toils away in her gardens, selling her blooms at market and to perfumeries or such for profit. She soon finds herself with a new neighbor, one Lord Valentine Windham - pianist, fifth son of the Duke of Moreland, and one-passionate-kiss-a-year-ago acquaintance of Mrs. FitzEngle - who has won the terribly neglected property and its dilapidated manor in a game of cards from the above mentioned extortionist. And as the repairs on the house begin, so does our love story.

As to our main characters, they are, as Pink Floyd put it, "two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year." They hide behind the figuratively erected facades and assumed identities. Valentine, now plain-old Mr. Windham, successful merchant, is trying to discover who he is apart from the piano (which, because of a hand inflammation, he cannot now play). And Ellen, guilt ridden and annoyingly untrusting, is trying to cope with her lot in life. But these flaws make our characters rich and interesting - quiet a change from the typical hoyden, debutant, or rake encountered in this genre.

What brings this novel down in my estimation is Ellen. While Val is beyond humanly romantic, understanding, and accepting, Mrs. FitzEngle is infuriatingly untrusting, naïve, and inexperienced, sexually (she's been wed for five years, I mean come on!!). Ellen's fear and guilt, which of course lead to her prevarications, are rather contrived. She is well aware of her innocence, yet torments herself and Val, especially toward the end of the novel, refusing to confide, to accept his good intentions, and to commit because she believes she has committed great crimes (but, she knows she is innocent - hmmm!!!). Burrowes could have done better with Ellen's internal struggle. What Burrowes offers with Ellen, left me shaking my head.

Now, the relationship between Ellen and Val takes time to form. However, it is imbued with such serious discussions and mature understandings that, at times, it feels more fictional than real. The sexual tension, attraction could not be felt, and there are two reasons for this: one, because the two protagonists had already met and kissed and two, because Grace Burrowes fails in describing her characters' physiognomies and characteristics as well as their attraction toward each other. The sex scenes, or shall I say sex scene - there was just the one, with the accompaniment of two make-out sessions - were a PG-13 affair, and tarnished with musical metaphors. However, there were no "predator/feral" descriptions in this novel, for which I am profoundly grateful.

Also, there are aspects of this work that defy the reader's expectations of the time period, especially when it comes to character behavior, even secondary character behavior. For example, it is not generally accepted for a Baroness, whether hiding that title or not, to toil away and work for a living. And, a member of the ton, fifth son of a Duke or not or even an Earl, does not typically engage in manual labor, repairing roofs, and barns, and whatnot. However, one could overlook these behaviors, as they adhere and contribute to the bucolic feel of this romance.

Overall, this is not a bad book. It targets the exceedingly sentimental reader; the reader who likes an exaggeratedly tender male protagonist, a very syrupy happy ending, but who does not desire much sizzle. If this is you, then pick this up.
originally on romancecritic
80 of 101 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What book did I get? 9 Nov 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Cause it clearly can't have been the same one being praised by all the glowing reviews here. Calling this mess a wallpaper historical is an insult to actual wallpaper historicals. Lumping it in with the works of Quinn and James (let alone Beverley) is appalling. Those women at least have a basic understanding of the social mores of the era and they might have actually read a book or two about the Regency (or at least Googled the basics).

A FEW of the more egregious problems: An earl who act as valet to their friend. A baroness who sells wares off a cart like a tinker! Incorrect terms of address. And please, there are no fruit muffins in the Regency! Basically this book (and I assure her others) is a tale of modern people dropped in to a fantasy land of pretty dresses and bizarre manual labor (cause so many lords knew how to put a roof on a house and all their friends would have been totally willing to pitch in, kind of like frat boys building a deck).

Romance? Maybe. HISTORICAL romance? Not even close.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Romantic and Emotional 1 Nov 2011
By Linda Banche - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Grace Burrowes's THE VIRTUOSO, the third book in THE DUKE'S OBSESSION series, is an intensely romantic and emotional story of two damaged people finding healing with each other.

For virtuoso pianist Lord Valentine Windham, the Duke of Windham's youngest son, music is his life--until a hand injury prevents him from playing. Terrified his music might be lost to him forever, he must find something to fill the void while, and if, his hand heals. He wins a dilapidated estate at cards and throws himself into setting the property to rights.

Widowed Mrs. Ellen FitzEngle lives alone on Val's new estate. Ostensibly a grower of flowers and herbs, the lady carries a weighty secret. Damaged in a different way than Val is, she seeks to help him heal. And maybe Val can help her heal, too.

I don't have much sympathy for the sufferings of the rich and powerful. Their money provides a cushion poor people with the same problems don't have. Ms. Burrowes has overcome most of my objections by saddling Val with a condition no amount of wealth or privilege can overcome. I also like Val. He's another of my favorite kind of hero, the decent man. I also like that he's an accomplished musician, something he attained solely through his own efforts. In the previous two books of the series (THE HEIR and THE SOLDIER), he played the role of comedy counterpoint to the weighty emotions of the principals. This book strips away the camouflage to reveal the lonely, isolated man beneath.

The author has also balanced Val's privileges with Ellen's lack of them. Ellen is one of those poor people without money to cushion her suffering. Her plight is a mystery we and Val must unravel, and Ms. Burrowes keeps us guessing almost to the end exactly what horrors Ellen has endured.

But the mood is not all gloom. Abundant humor from the secondary characters as well as Val, who still can crack a smile or two through his distress, lightens the tone as we cheer Val and Ellen on.

I like all three books in the series, but THE VIRTUOSO is my favorite. Enjoy.

ARC provided by Sourcebooks
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 23 Oct 2011
By Queen of Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the book "The Virtuoso" you meet Valentine Windham, younger son of the Duke of Moreland. His father doesn't understand Val's passion for his music. When Val loses his music, he flees to the country, alone and lonely to rebuild an estate he won in a card game.
Then he meets his neighbor, Ellen Markham, the woman he kissed in the forest many years ago and never forgot. They are both wounded souls who come together to make perfect music. I loved this new book by Grace Burrowes. She is a very gifted author and I can't wait until the next book comes out.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three novels--one plot 18 May 2013
By Lady Wesley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Grace Burrowes is a very talented writer, and she creates characters you come to really care about. This is a good thing, as the first three books in the Windham series are basically the same plot, with different people and settings.

The Heir: duke's heir, burdened by the demands of running the duke's estates, spends the summer in London and falls in love with a women beneath him in social status who is keeping deep, dark secrets.
The Soldier: duke's illegitimate son moves to his new estate in Yorkshire and falls in love with a woman beneath him in social status who is keeping deep, dark secrets.
The Virtuoso: duke's piano-playing son injures his hand, travels to his new estate in Oxfordshire and falls in love with a woman beneath him in social status who is keeping deep, dark secrets.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed these books and may even reread them some day, despite the repetitive nature of the major and minor plotlines (each brother makes love exactly the same way, as if, in addition to a fencing-master, they had a f---ing master to teach them the perfect steps; each one likes to brush and braid a woman's hair; if a woman is pregnant, and they all are before the wedding, she sleeps and cries a lot).

Probably, if you don't read them one after another, as I did, the repetition is less bothersome. I'm still giving The Heir three stars, but four for the others.

See my review of the Windham series at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/240638362.
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Casual sex was only mildly appealing because in his experience, it might ease lust, but it only heightened loneliness. &quote;
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&quote;
The best, loveliest music he’d ever created had come from the need to give something of value to someone he cared for—reassurance, comfort, consolation, relief from pain or despondency. The best music he’d ever created had come not from his fingers or his musical mind, but from his heart. &quote;
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&quote;
The attributes of virtuosity were all there: A towering commitment to the subject of choice; a fluency gained through long, dedicated years of study; and a generosity about sharing the wisdom gained in those years, that came across as nothing less than art. &quote;
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