This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
Sir Benedict Harper has survived the Napoleonic Wars – but at a price. Ben has suffered a great deal from the injuries he sustained while at war and now relies on canes to walk. While visiting his sister, Ben meets the beautiful young widow, Samantha McKay. Samantha’s husband died a few months ago and now Samantha is trapped with her overbearing sister-in-law, Matilda. Matilda believes they should be in deep mourning, shunning the outside world apart from their weekly visits to church. Having had more than enough of being stuck indoors, Samantha sneaks out of the house to take a walk and meets the handsome ex-soldier, Ben. They don’t get off to the best of starts but Samantha and Ben soon strike up a friendship and when Samantha reveals that she is going to escape from the clutches of Matilda and her father-in-law, Ben agrees to escort her to Wales where Samantha has inherited a cottage.
I enjoyed Mary Balogh’s style of writing and found myself quickly relaxing into the worlds of Ben and Samantha. Both have suffered from battles – Ben personally and Samantha through her late husband, who she nursed for several years before he died. They don’t meet under the best circumstances and are quite angry with one another to begin with, but I liked how this wasn’t drawn out and a friendship formed quickly. I really enjoyed the friendship and although the romance took quite a while to develop, it was quite sweet. As main characters, I thought Samantha and Ben were great, particularly Ben who had been left damaged – both physically and mentally – from his battles but wasn’t the typical brooding leads you sometimes find in historical romances. Apart from their first encounter, I thought Ben was a lovely, good-mannered man who deserved to find some happiness after his ordeals.I did feel that the pace of the book was a little sluggish at times, especially at the beginning as we are getting to know the characters. It was nice getting to know them and their backstories but I felt the pace could have been improved as it didn’t seem to get going until the pair set out for Wales, which was quite a chunk into the book.