by Mary Balogh
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How got: personal library, bought from Amazon
First attention getter: author and series
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?
Star Rating - 5
My second book in the series to read, it’s also the second book of the Survivor’s Club series overall. It’s got a bit of a different tone than book three that I enjoyed, and the characters stood out in a different light.
I liked that this book had a gentler feel to it than the previous volume I read. Not to say that the fact of Vincent’s blindness and Sophie’s dire financial straits aren’t heavy and presented with the requisite seriousness and drama. Yet, I think that there’s a lighter, gentler romantic air to this one. That was a nice change of pace.
I think a lot of that lighter feel can be chalked up to the characters themselves. Vincent has an attitude that I could only dream of having in a similar situation. He takes his blindness in stride and gets on with his life with a minimum of fuss or drama. There are occasional moments where panic attacks occur, but he meets the challenge in his life with strength of will I can only admire.
Sophie also shined. Life throws a hell of a curve ball her way; if not for Vincent, she would have been in a very drastic situation. Past emotional trauma also makes for a damaged soul. Yet, her heart is big enough to take in Vincent with all his problems as well as her own. I liked that she didn’t dwell on her hardship-filled life; she got past it quick and looked at the positive that occurred when fate wove her life’s path with Vincent’s.
There were occasional forays into eye-rolling clichés. The whole showdown in the dark thing, I felt, was really unnecessary. Yet, unlike book 3, I didn’t feel that they weighed down this book. The sweet, sweet romance and the characterizations for our leads more than make up for any clichés that might have occurred.
I adored this installment for the Survivor’s Club. The romance was tender, and our lead characters strong despite the trauma. Even the odd cliché didn’t detract from my enjoyment; I still was enthralled by this tender romance. Highly recommended for lovers of this genre.