Thursday, September 27, 2012

VBT & Review - Love's Debt by Rachel Brimble

Welcome to my stop on Rachel Brimble's Virtual Book Tour for her book, Love's Debt.  Please be sure to leave a comment or question below for Rachel, and fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter her giveaway.  You can follow all of the stops on Rachel's tour here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning.


Title: Love's Debt
Author: Rachel Brimble
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 91 pages
Genres: Historical Romance



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 Millie and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?


Joseph Jacobs closed the tavern door behind him and paused a moment to take in his surroundings. As a man used to looking over his shoulder and sensing trouble, experience taught him to be aware of others before they became aware of you. He narrowed his gaze. The meager number of patrons at the tables surprised him at an hour when he expected the bar to be fairly busy. He glanced at the clock; maybe it wasn’t time for the workers yet.

He shifted his gaze to the woman standing beneath the clock and his heart kicked. Her green-gold eyes held him where he stood. She stared and Joseph swallowed, willing some words to come forth from his frozen tongue or at least a smile to curve his paralyzed lips.

She lifted her eyebrows and slowly pulled a cloth from her shoulders. Her hair was a mass of fire-tipped curls around her oval face, her skin creamy-white and her parted lips, a soft delicate pink. Joseph cleared his throat and belatedly removed his hat.“Good evening, miss.”

Her smile slipped easily into place. “Good evening to you, sir.” Her voice was smooth, clear and full of confidence. “Are you looking to quench your thirst or just planning on soaking up the atmosphere?”

Joseph inhaled a long breath through flared nostrils as if trying to smell her. Something told him she’d smell of lavender…or maybe musk. Something to throw a man off guard, to lower his defenses.

He stepped forward. “Neither. I am looking for the landlord. Would you happen to know if he’s available?”

Her gaze lingered on his a moment longer before she looked to the four glasses at the table beside her. She grasped them expertly between her fingers and carried them behind the bar without answering his question.

Joseph couldn’t take his gaze from the natural sway of her hips beneath the deep burgundy dress she wore, the bustle a little too prominent for the current fashion showing her lack of money to afford better. Why else would a woman with the features of an artist’s model be working in a tavern unless necessity demanded it?


“No, I take it from here.” His jaw tightened. “I mean it, Milly. I don’t want you in there.”

“Why are we arguing about this? I thought we’d built a trust between us.”

His gaze darted over her face, lingered at her lips. “This has nothing to do with trust.”

“Then what?”

“Pride. If I haven’t got that…if I’ve stooped so low as to put a woman at risk, then there’s no point in going on at all. I won’t do it, Milly. I won’t expose you to whatever is behind that door. If you can’t stay here, then go back to the tavern. I’ll see you there shortly.”

His face was set, his shoulders stiff and Milly’s irritation grew. She poked a finger into his chest. It was like iron. She swallowed. “Have you heard the saying, pride before a fall?” He nodded. “Good, because if people don’t reach out to other people, Joseph Jacobs, they fall further than ever with nobody there to catch them.”


She raised her hand. “Go. Do what you want. I’ve got more important things to worry about that a man full of so much pride, he looks fit to burst.”

Turning, Milly gripped her bag tightly in her hand and strode away. She did not look back, and she didn’t stop walking. Her stupid heart had let her down. Made her get involved in a man’s life and begin to care about him. Well, the buck stopped there. No more. If Joseph Jacobs ever needed her help again, he could take a long walk off the dock.

Blinking against the rare sting of tears, she tilted her chin and retraced her steps across town. Her shift at the tavern started in an hour’s time, but that didn’t matter; there was always plenty to be done and at least there, she was appreciated. Joseph certainly didn’t see what was right in front of his damn face.

Yet each step that took her across town weighed heavier and heavier. She’d seen where he and his father lived. It was little better than a hovel. She’d seen the newspapers stuffed around the window frames in an attempt to keep out the cold, the bare floorboards, and thick layers of soot from the fireplace spilling into the room. The landlady should be seeing to that, all of it. Bitter resentment furled in Milly’s stomach as her past flashed through her mind. She’d pulled her family from the gutter, and the future looked brighter than ever before.

Which didn’t help the nagging feeling that she could do more—wanted to do more to help Joseph. But she couldn’t. It would mean putting a hold on her own plans. All for a man she had hardly known more than two weeks.

She curled her hands into fists. This feeling inside her was new. This sense of wanting to fight for someone outside of her family. How had it gotten like this? To kiss him was bad enough, but to have this…this fear for him? That scared her more than anything.




Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK.  She started writing short stories about eight years ago but once her children were at school, she embarked on her first novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with small presses as well as securing her first contract with Harlequin Superromance in May 2012.

Represented by US agent Dawn Dowdle, of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family.  Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…

Contact Rachel at:
Twitter - or @rachelbrimble
Facebook -


My Review: 

What would you be willing to do for the man you loved?  In Rachel Brimble's Love's Debt, that is the question the heroine must ask herself - can she let go of the worry and hardships she has endured in order to share some of the money she's been able to save towards her future in order to help the man she loves.
Set in Bristol, England during the 1890's, this is the tale of a working class woman who falls for a man who's down on his luck.  With likable characters, good dialogue and a well paced plot, Ms. Brimble's story made me think about the things I take for granted.

Milly Shepherd is a twenty five year old working class woman working in The Red Lion, a local tavern.  Determined to make a better life for herself, her mother and her younger sister, Milly is hoping to become the manager of the bar - the job's hers as long as no able bodied man comes in and takes it away from her.  With only one hour to go before the decision is made, a young able bodied man comes in to apply for the job.  Milly is determined to fight for the job she considers rightfully hers; she just didn't plan on falling for the man who would end up becoming one of her employees.

Joseph Jacobs is a young man caught between a rock and a hard place.  Broke and desperate for a second job to cover his father's gambling debts, Joseph applies for the managers job at The Red Lion Tavern.  Surprised when he doesn't get the job, he's willing to put his pride aside and work for the woman the owner sees as a member of his family.  He never planned on falling for the fiery redhead or on needing her help with his father.

The scenes between Milly and Joseph are well written and they are both likable characters.  Both of them want to better their situation in life, Milly has always been poor and wants to make sure her mother and sister are able to live a decent life, while Joseph is just trying to keep his father out of the debtor's prison and hopefully be able to scratch out a decent future for himself.  Ms. Brimble did a good job developing these characters and working with their emotional and financial baggage.  They really were well suited for each other.

When Joseph's father gets in more trouble, will Milly be willing to help Joseph obtain his freedom?  And will Joseph be willing to put his personal pride aside and accept Milly's help?  You'll have to read Love's Debt to find out.  I enjoyed this quick, short, historical romance and I think you will too.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars 


Don't forget to leave a comment or question below for Rachel or to fill out the Rafflecopter Form to enter her giveaway.  You can follow her book tour here.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Maria,

    Thank you so much for such a great review - it's really appreciated. Glad you enjoyed Milly & Joseph's story!

    I'll be back later to respond to any comments - thanks for hosting me :)

    Rachel x

  2. Thanks for a fun post and giveaway! This book sounds fabulous! Definitely going on my wishlist :)

  3. Thanks, Erin! Hope you enjoy it :)

    Rachel x

  4. Hi, Your book sounds so good. I was held by just the excerpt and can only imagine how it would be to have the whole book. You are a new author to me and glad I found you. I run a small library for my community and I have a table set up for authors promo items to promote books of their. I no not ask for anything in return but if you have promo items and care to send me some I will place them on my table. I understand you are out of the USA but maybe your publishing company would send items to save you the cost of postage. Another author in UK did this so it was easier for her. Glad to meet you and hope I get the chance to read some of your books some day. I am retired and on social security so this limits my book buying anymore, something I miss doing too. ha ha I help promote authors as part of my loyalty to the authors. sue Leech, 1273 Strahan rd., New Columbia, PA 17856 Questions?