Sharon E. Cathcart
on Sep. 7, 2012 :
Having written my own novel based in the Cupid and Psyche vein, I've truly come to appreciate a romance novel that breaks the typical "perfectly handsome hero/heroine" mold. Sondra Allan Carr does exactly that.
Jonathan, her hero, is damaged not only physically but emotionally. Her heroine, Isabelle's scars are invisible, but they affect her nonetheless. She has grown up in what she thinks of as genteel poverty; Jonathan is surrounded by wealth of which he wants no part.
The two are brought together by Dr. Garrick, Jonathan's physician, as Jonathan is in need of a secretary and Isabelle is in need of money to help support her younger sister.
Set in the Gilded Age on the US Eastern Seaboard, the book is rife with period details that put the reader right into the setting with the characters. The prose is rich, with an elegant vocabulary that delighted me.
This is no cookie-cutter romance tale; highly recommended for those who prefer their heroes less than perfect and their heroines intelligent.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
on Oct. 1, 2011 :
This historical romance brings all our favourite elements of a love story together – two emotionally scarred characters trying to find peace in each other's arms. Sondra Allan Carr just overwhelms with her sensitivity in this love-against-the-odds novel.
Jonathan Nashe is heir to a huge fortune but after a tragic fire leaves him terribly disfigured, he refuses to let anyone see him. He lives, sheltered away from prying eyes, in his country mansion where he does some research to keep his mind and time occupied. Isabella Tate was the victim of a brutal rape and the ongoing physical and mental abuse of her father. To give her sister the opportunity of a better life, she agrees to be secretary to Jonathan for one year. Will these two people be able to put the past behind them and build a new life together or will their heartache keep them apart forever?
Isabelle was an easy character to love. She always seemed to put her sister's happiness above her own, trying to give her a better life than she had. This endeared me to her. She is hired as a secretary for the elusive Jonathan Nashe and from the beginning, it is a difficult relationship both professionally and personally.
I will admit that I have a soft spot for a tortured hero and Jonathan made me just want to put my arms around him and never let go. He is the perfect "beast" character – scarred both physically and mentally. He just could not fathom the idea that anyone could tolerate his presence, never mind love him! I was so happy the first time he came out of his room!
Together, Isabelle and Jonathan start to help each other out of their comfort zones and they start living for the first time. At first it is just little Sunday morning strolls which then develops into evenings in the library.
They have led such utter miserable lives and have experienced only hardship and pain, that as their love story slowly develops, we cannot help but wish them only happiness. Unfortunately the path to happiness is never easy and there are lots of misunderstandings. This was the only negative point for me. I felt that some of the misunderstandings could have been resolved immediately and that they got drawn out a bit too much.
The subplot between Isabella's young sister and the doctor-friend of Jonathan was a fun addition to the book. I loved their relationship so much that I would have loved them to have had a book of their own.
This is the ultimate "Beauty and the Beast" story. True love comes in all forms and is strong enough to wipe away even the worst of our pasts. That is the message of this book and I could not agree more.
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
on Aug. 31, 2011 :
This book is a delight, a real page turner with suspense on both physical and emotional levels. True to the romance genre, but much richer than usual. Literary references give the book resonance, while the psychological concerns it’s dealing with give it depth. But it's the plot and character development that give it life. After I’d finished the book, I found myself recalling scenes and sensations that were drawing me back as if it were a real place I'd visited and would like to return to. Some of the physical locations become very real, but most tangible is the relationship between the characters, which almost becomes a place in itself - a place of sensuality and great sensitivity.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Aug. 15, 2011 :
This novel is a gem. It has been carefully edited – I didn't notice any errors in the epub version. The love between the lead characters develops slowly enough to be believable. The characters have intelligent conversations and interactions. There are convincing impediments to the characters' developing relationship. I really liked the hero and heroine. Beyond that, this author simply does a wonderful job of conveying romance and longing. This is a story that I will reread in the future.
(reviewed 42 days after purchase)
on Aug. 9, 2011 :
So glad I moved this to the front of my reading list. I have not read a good romance like this in a long time. I was surprised at how fast it was to read. I love these characters. This is a very moving story. Five stars for sure.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on June 19, 2011 :
I loved this book! It kept me interested from the very beginning, and the ending was perfect!
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)