Lady Eleanor “Nell” St. George has returned to England from France after The Great War, but before she returns home, she needs to stop in Wales to return Tommy—her captain’s horse—to his home. She does not receive the warm welcome she expected; the competent captain she worked alongside in her veterinary duties has become callous and bitter. Nell intended to drop Tommy off and return to her own home, but she feels compelled to stay.
Beatrice Hughes is the captain’s oldest daughter, and her family has experienced unspeakable tragedy—their three oldest sons died during the war, and while the family patriarch has always been harsh, he is even worse now that he has come home. Bea is drawn to the elegant Nell, and doesn’t understand why she insists on staying at the farm now that Tommy has been returned.
The romance, however, is shadowed by another tragedy: the disappearance of Bea’s mother. I thought this mystery part was very well done, and while the resolution was not unexpected, it still came as a shock when the details finally fell into place.
There’s a bit of slow burn; both Nell and Bea are hesitant to act on their feelings because neither is sure that her feelings would be reciprocated, but even when that’s cleared up, there are still obstacles in their path that prevent them from being happy together.
The class differences in this book present a unique perspective; while Nell has experienced hardship during the war, she truly realizes how privileged she is when she stays with the Hughes family and sees how the entire family is beholden to the captain, who is no longer able to provide for his family, but with three sons lost to the war, there are very few opportunities for income. Nell’s perpetual optimism frustrates Bea, who has always been fully aware of her own limitations—since she doesn’t intend to marry, she has no choice but to remain at the house and help care for her younger siblings. That’s another eye-opening moment for Nell: Mrs. Hughes has children ranging in age from almost 30 down to 6 years old, and it comes as a shock to Nell that Mrs. Hughes didn’t have much of a choice in having so many children.
I would absolutely recommend Her Lady’s Honor. Nell and Bea have amazing chemistry, but more importantly, they work so well together. The war has brought permanent changes to their world, but they are both determined to find happiness amidst so much tragedy. This was such a lovely book, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Dahlia in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Carina Press/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.