Top positive review
The Best Tortured Hero EVER
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2015
This book had all the elements I most enjoy. Believable characterizations, unique plot perspective, absorbing story line, and very good writing. Additionally, it offered a wonderfully tortured hero, a heroine you wanted to root for, a marriage forced by circumstances and some unexpected (and utterly delightful) twists and turns. Can you tell I really liked this book?
After a long stretch of reading rather unremarkable books and abandoning many of them midway through, it was a literary treat to find a story that kept my undivided attention and gave me hours of pleasure. I loved the Hero of this book, tortured as he was. Ms. London did a remarkable job of making me feel his pain, as trite as that may sound. He hadn't been in the war, but rather was tormented by his obsessive thoughts and painful rituals he devised to gain some relief; such as counting, dividing and multiplying by eights. His internal torment manifested itself outwardly by making him taciturn, unnaturally quiet, rigid and miserable. His every moment was spent in internal struggle to keep his thoughts from becoming public, or otherwise losing control. He was truly tortured.
He was also extremely handsome, wealthy and a powerful Earl. He chose to live at his country estate in solitary, Spartan surroundings and thus managed to survive with his secrets (for the most part) unknown to the world. He had the reputation for being the most miserable man in England - but at least no one knew the truth that lay behind his misery.
Then, in a single evening, his carefully controlled existence comes to a shattering end. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time - he certainly was. Grace Cabot, hoping to ensnare his brother John into marrying her, is caught with his brother Jeffrey instead. To the horror of all concerned, they are forced by the threat of a horrific scandal to marry - suddenly and without warning.
Thus begins the lovely, if somewhat painful, story of a marriage begun under the worst possible embarrassing circumstances. It is told so well that I found myself cringing for both of them as they attempt in their own ways to move forward with their lives. Grace is, unwittingly, the perfect wife for an imperfect man. While he desperately needs uniformity, she sows cheerful chaos, making them both unhappy. But, the story doesn't end here, it just keeps getting better.
The movement towards the HEA is slow, with setbacks, but I found it to be a simply wonderful evolution. In bits and starts, one step forward, one step back they come to know each other, care for each other, and fall in love with each other. I loved every chapter! Because I so enjoyed this book, I'm going back to read the first book in this series - the story of Grace's older sister. I only hope it's half as good as I found this book to be. It was one of those books you HATE to see end.