Ethan: Lord of Scandals
I’m a sucker for kids. Whether in real life or in books, there’s something about children that pulls me in. I love hanging out with them, talking to them, playing with them. Grace Burrowes does a great job of writing about children, in my experience, and that’s why I picked Ethan up.
Ethan Grey is just trying to get his life in order. He’s the single father of two well-behaved young boys, and his only plans for the future involve raising those boys on his quiet country estate. He does need to find a new tutor for his children, but as the book starts, that issue isn’t weighing too heavily on his mind. He just wants to pick his boys up from his brother Nicholas’ house, where they’re staying.
Ethan’s future changes the minute he sets foot in Nicholas’ house. It begins with Nicholas’ governess, a sweet, quiet girl named Alice Portman, whom Ethan likes immediately. He recognizes a sort of kindred spirit, and, based on that and her affinity for his sons, asks her to be their new teacher. With that one choice, Ethan unknowingly plots an entirely new course for his life.
Ethan is a story all about the personal growth of Ethan Grey. As the bastard son of an earl, his life has been a difficult and lonely one—something his wife only made worse in the short time she was around. Alice helps him to get past that, by introducing him to the children behind his sons’ perfect manners, and by just being there for him. What Ethan needs most is a partner, and he finds a wonderful one in Alice.
There were many things I loved about the characters in this book. They were all beautifully drawn, as most of Grace Burrowes’ characters are. Both Ethan and Alice have some major baggage, which gave them depth, but they both deal with that baggage well, which is why I liked them. I’m sure that they each would have gotten past their respective traumas without the other, because that’s just who they are. They’re strong, and they deal with things. Having each other to talk to simply made the process of dealing with their problems easier.
The boys, too, were wonderfully written. Jeremiah and Joshua Grey are very quiet and well-behaved around their father in the beginning—it seems he isn’t the kind of dad you horse around with. However, with time they get more comfortable around him, and they begin to act like normal little boys. The fact that I can say that is a testament to Burrowes’ talent, I think—it takes some skill to actually make a six-year-old sound like a six-year-old.
I only had one real problem with this book—its ending. As I said, the story was mostly character driven, focused on Ethan and Alice getting to know each other and opening up to one another. I didn’t terribly mind the drama at the end, but I will say it seemed a bit overdone and out-of-place. This was not a story focused on drama and fighting, and so it felt wrong to find those elements in the last bit of the book.
At the end of the day, though, I loved Ethan. Generally I think that any book by Grace Burrowes is a treat, but I enjoyed this one even more than usual. I cannot wait for the next in her series.