STORY: THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.
Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.
REVIEW: I heard about this book from Grace Burrowes, and would have gotten it on her word alone, but I thought to ‘sample’ a couple of paragraphs from Amazon, just to get a ‘feel’ of the story. What I got was a kick in my solar plexus as the novel opens up with the letter in question.
Most stories are structured in three parts, with a climax at the end. This story had its climax right at front, and with it made you want to demand to know what in the hell happened and how the hell is our hero going to make it all right.
When many authors would keep the said ‘letter’ as an intriguing ‘pièce de résistance’ for the climactic ending, this author smacks you with it right at the beginning, and I dare you not to flinch at it!
What I also loved about the story is that while it had serious, dark and painful moments, the author made sure to lighten it up with some witty dialogue and a hero that never left his home without ‘having a plan’.
“Listen. I have a plan.” – is soon becoming my favorite line I’ve ever read in a novel! Every time I read it as our hero said it, and let me tell you, it was many, many times as the poor fellows plans kept changing from day-to-day, I laughed out loud, even though, I’d be bawling over a page before.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this tale! It is filled with so many wonderful, heartbreaking and funny moments it warmed me all over. This is a story of true love gone awry, thought dead, never to be resurrected from the ashes of malice and hate; story of redemption, of second chances; of unspeakable abuse, of survival; of the ‘warrior woman’ and the man who never could forget her; a story of hope that there are ‘windows in hell’ so that the evil can see love triumph and thrive.
Can you tell I liked the book? I don’t usually include excerpts in my reviews, but I’m making an exception this time, and here is what grabbed my attention…and held it throughout the entire tale:
“Dear cousin mine,
If you are reading this letter, then I am dead. A pity that. I had always hoped you would go first so I could spit on your grave.
As that pleasure has been denied me, allow me to aim my arrow at a new target, namely your heart. This is going to knock the earth out from under your feet, Cousin, so prepare yourself. I have earned a place in hell for this one act, but it was worth giving my soul to the Devil to know my deeds will destroy you.
From the day you were born, I have hated you. Even at the age of ten, I understood you would be more than me by simply being born Lord Michael Jefferes, heir to the Earl of Daventry. Everyone adored you and I could not bear it.
So, what devilish little trick have I played on you from beyond the grave? Christ Almighty, I pray there is a window in hell that will allow me to see your face as you read my next words.
When Lady Diana Cavanaugh caught your interest, I tried my damnedest to turn her attentions to me. Why should you have the richest heiress in the kingdom? Why should you have it all? I will admit, knowing you loved the lady made me determined to have her. When it became apparent she only had eyes for you, I put my devious mind to concocting a new scheme. The brilliance of it staggers me still.
It was the most delicious moment of my life when you found me in bed with your betrothed on the eve of your wedding. Here is what you don’t know, I never touched her that night! You thought you saw her betraying you, but what you actually saw was a drugged woman.
Are you suitably impressed? If not yet, do not despair, there is more.
Before I get to the best part, let me tell you a little about my wife. I have ruined her. She loved you and I did my best to beat it out of her. She can no longer bear the touch of a man. The beautiful, spirited girl you loved is no more.
You are likely asking why I waited a year to put this letter in your hands. I wanted my darling wife to have her year of mourning my poor dead self. So she would have no distractions from that loving duty, I have installed her and our son in a very out of the way place, a very lonely place.
I still haven’t told you my coup de grace.
There is a possibility James Charles Standish is your son! You see why I pray there is a window in hell? You should also know, I have done my best to instill my hate for you onto the boy.
I managed (and had much fun doing so) to spend my wife’s inheritance, most of it going to whores and gaming hells. What this means is there is little money left for my wife and the boy, so as to their condition at their little hideaway, I couldn’t say. How could I? I am dead.
However, you may no longer give a damn. If so, then already, I like you better. But I know you Cousin; your sanctimonious scruples will not allow you to turn your back on them. So, I hereby bequeath to you one used wife and one (possible) son. Do with them what you will.
Your ever loving cousin,
*Book purchased from Amazon.