by Mary Balogh
Release Date: Aug 27, 2013
Source: ARC sent by publicist
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
A mesmerizing story of passionate awakening and redemption, Mary Balogh’s new novel unites a war hero consigned to darkness with a remarkable woman who finds her own salvation by showing him the light of love.
Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.
At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?
This book really impressed me, it was such an amazing romance! They say the hardest reviews to write are for the books that you absolutely loved, but I will give it a try! The best thing about this book was the truly believable, flawed characters. They both had obstacles to get through personally and together they were able to shoulder the weight as a team. Even though they had their problems, they never ever felt sorry for themselves.
The two characters were so perfect for each other. And what really impressed me was that they actually appreciated all the seemingly little things the other person did for them. For instance, Vincent hated being coddled by his relatives because of his blindness, especially when they did everything for him including leading him around. Sophia let him guide himself, and even her, when walking, or gave him very subtle clues about his surroundings when he needed them. This was never lost on Vincent, or taken for granted, and it was just so nice to see the couple appreciate each other.
Vincent wasn't the only one with a vulnerability. Sofia's scars weren't as visible, but they haunted her, and Vincent helped her to grow past the scars of the past. Her self esteem was so beaten down by her extended family treating her so poorly that she thought very little of herself. She always thought she was terribly plain, and it was beautiful to have Vincent tell her how gorgeous she was, and he never failed to let everyone else know it when anyone mentioned that she was less than beautiful.
I suppose the only (tiny) drawback to the book for me was in fact, "the arrangement" mentioned in the title. It was so obvious that neither character wanted such a marriage in name only after getting to know each other even just a little bit. It seemed a bit silly that either of them even thought about it again. It was the one thing that made me irritated with the otherwise near-perfect hero. I just wanted him to speak up! Tell her how much you love her and don't want to stick to your 'arrangement'! Of course that it the name of the book, so I can see how it needed to be there.
Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Bottom Line: This is a wonderful, uplifting romance, and it will probably be awhile before I read another historical romance that warms my heart as much as this one did.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publicist and publisher in exchange for an honest review.