STORY: 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?
REVIEW: This is the second book of the Survivors Club and it’s Vincent’s story.
The hero is blinded shortly after entering the Napolenanic Wars and while he convalesced, was cared for by his fellow survivors of the war who later formed the Survivors’ Club, a group that meets every year at Penderris Hall in Cornwell, country home of the Duke of Stanbrook, to give each other support while facing life after the war.
Vincent is finally ready to return home and be with his family at Middlebury Park in Gloucestershire, there to be coddled and smothered by his well-meaning mother and sisters.
He had not been Viscount for very long, so the new-found wealth and the lifestyle that came with it is a bit overwhelming at times and while he appreciates their love and care, he decides to take a trip to Barton Coombs, the home he knew as a child for some quiet time for himself.
Sophia Fry lost her mother when she was a baby and her father was a gambler whose life ended violently. From an early age she was forced to live on sustenance in the home of her aunt who lives in Barton Coombs. The woman resents caring for Sophia and treats her no better than a servant. Small in stature and rather plain, she is known as The Mouse.
Vincent and Sophia meet at a party thrown by the town of Barton Coombs in his honor. When Vincent learns about Sophia’s predicament, he is determined to care for her and thus proposes marriage to her.
This is a novel about two damaged people – one physically and one mentally. The injuries they both suffered have left them deeply scared, and as they find one another, they learn to overcome the adversity they have known and are willing to find good in life as well as happiness.
After they marry and return to his home at Middlebury Park, Sophia’s and Vincent’s love for each other grows.
Sophia is determined to help Vincent gain his independence in every way possible and with Vincent’s love; Sophia gains her own independence and ability to be his Viscountess in every way.
The sensitivity with which Ms. Balogh wrote this novel expressing the emotions of Vincent as a blind person and the hurt Sophia knew as a child are very well done.
As with her first novel of the Survivors’ Club, “The Proposal,” I was very pleased and look forward to reading more of her books.
Connie for b2b
*ARC Edition received from The Random House Publishing Group.