Reviewed by Susan
TITLE: The Scholar’s Heart
SERIES: Chronicles of Tournai #3
AUTHOR: Antonia Aquilante
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 294 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2016
Youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart who juggles his work for the prince with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, something of particular interest to him because he shares the magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries a woman. Though Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, he is a dutiful son, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family.
A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together, and even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside again. When Tristan’s daughter is kidnapped, Etan and Tristan must come together to find her, find the person responsible, and support each other through the ordeal… and maybe beyond.
I have been looking forward to Etan and Tristan’s book ever since I finished The Artist’s Masquerade. This is a classic tale of friends to lovers where one of the friends is in love with the other and the second is blissfully unaware. Tristian is so totally unaware that he spends the first half of the book confused and not understanding the actions of his best friend.
Etan is totally and completely in love with Tristan and just when he believes that maybe Tristan feels the same, Tristan announces that he is getting married. To a woman! He feels he must bow to family pressure to marry and produce an heir. This leaves Etan completely devastated. To try and recover from his hurt he pulls away from Tristan as much as he can considering their close family and friendship ties.
When tragedy leaves Tristan with an infant daughter, everyone rallies around him to lend their support. This brings Etan closer to Tristan once more and he finds him hard to resist. Tristan has missed his friend and longs for them to be close again.
As the two dance ever closer and closer together, revelations and emotions bring their relationship to a crossroads. Can Etan trust Tristan’s declarations or should he pull back to protect himself? The kidnapping of Tristan’s daughter changes everything as everyone pulls together to search for the child and support Tristan.
Etan is one of my favourite characters in the series. He is so terribly hurt by Tristan’s actions, but he does not become bitter. And Tristan is so clueless that it is impossible to blame him for his actions. The full cast in prominent in this story as with the other books in the series. The fact that Etan is the cousin to the Prince and that Tristan is the best friend to the Consort keeps the storyline tight.
I love how the paranormal aspect is woven throughout this series. It is done in a casual kind of way that makes it stunning when it launches to the forefront of the story. Overall I am very pleased with this addition to the series and am looking forward to where it goes next. Tristan’s brother perhaps?