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on Aug. 13, 2011 :
I'm not sure why I bought this, I know it was one of my earliest Smashwords purchases and today I finally got around to reading this little gem. According to my ebook reader it's about 265 pages at my preferred fontsize of 14pt - and it uses these pages ably.
The first nice thing is that this is one of the rarities, a Georgian romance, fairly well researched (I do not believe that Laura could have inherited Heddon Hall unencumbered at that time, with a house that is from the 12th century there would certainly have been an entail on that, if not on the money).
But the meat is not in a winsome, and lovely courtship of adoring childhood beauty and badly hurt in body and spirit former soldier - it is in the aspect of dealing with grief, and how much grief and loss of hope one person can bear and what to do when there is no hope left and you still have to live - which is why the contrast of Alex's original condition and the things that Laura had to live through was so striking.
I'm not sure why the scheming mercenary of a stepmother or her lover were even necessary to the story, their roles could have been easily filled by someone else (although that James Atkins guy was certainly intriguing and I thought he might have been sequel bait, if I could find any sign of a follow-up to this first novel of the author on her site).
Lovely were the little portrayals of Laura's uncles (each very much his own person and indispensable to the story), of Dolly and Maggie the housemaid and of William Pitt. I have never lived through such a loss as Laura had yet, so I can't comment on how much this came close to the truth of such a tragedy, but the author made me feel it intensely, as well as the numbness and the eventual reorientation to cope with the loss.
Really what this book is about a young girl growing to be an adult woman and learning to weigh how much she is willing to risk to find joy again. The ending was a bit saccharine with the reversal of the original roles and a bit too rushed (another 50 pages would have been more in line with the previous development, I thought).
If you want to read an emotional satisfying tearjerker in Georgian times, which - while heaving a HEA - does not miraculously cure all ills of the participating couple at the end, this is money well spend.
(reviewed long after purchase)