To keep herself from the depths of poverty, Milly Shepherd needs to be appointed manager of the Red Lion Tavern. The elderly owner is in failing health and has promised her the job permanently if no one more suitable applies. Milly will fight with her entire being to make the job her own.
Joseph Jacobs needs to supplement his income to pay off his father’s creditors and save him from debtor’s prison. Though the job as manager of the local tavern looks promising, Milly is favored by both the owner and customers. Instead, Joseph swallows his pride and agrees to tend bar.
As they work together, their attraction grows, their goals cross, and both Milly and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?
Love's Debt is a sweet historical featuring two people drawn together in their desperation to make ends meet and make something of their futures. Considering the shortness of this story, the main characters are surprisingly well fleshed-out and though they come from different societal spheres they're perfect for each other.
Milly is a strong woman who wants the best for her family and has gone where no woman has gone before and become manager of a pub. When she first sees the sexy and formidable Joseph Jacobs she thinks he'll steal her job. She also knows there's more to him than what she sees and sets out to discover the truth about him. As she gets to know him she discovers his kind heart and loyalty to family, traits she also has and what draws them together. Milly's extremely likable and stands up for what she believes in. She's scared to open her heart, but once she does it's done wholeheartedly. The feelings she has for Joseph are believable and evolve slowly and naturally to a satisfyingly sweet conclusion.
Joseph is in a constant struggle to make ends meet and pay off his father's gambling debt. His mother left when she realized the gambling wasn't going to stop but Joseph is loyal even through his disappointment and works two jobs to pay off the debt. He's an admirable character and the subtle flirtatiousness he directs towards Millie from the start is endearingly sweet and believably evolves into something stronger. He's also a smart man who doesn't let his pride get in the way off his happiness and leans on the woman who loves him when he needs her most.
The main characters are nicely fleshed-out with truly likable traits. The interaction between father and son was heartbreakingly well-written and showed a great deal about Joseph. My only disappointment was in how little insight we got into the father and whether there's hope for him to overcome his addiction. While the story ends on a hopeful note there's a niggling suspicion about hopefulness for the father that I wish I could've been assured of. The romance is sweet and the lone sexual encounter isn't graphic at all but is certainly satisfying. Between the enjoyable writing style and likable main characters this is a book I recommend to anyone wanting a feel-good story. This is my first time reading Ms. Brimble but definitely won't be my last!
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.