May 12, 2014
We got us a hobbled hero!
It appears that Caroline Linden is on a roll. I loved the first book in this series, Love and Other
This book follows the Weston family (who were introduced in the first book), mainly Abigail. Abigail is a quiet woman who knows her own worth and she is not willing to settle for anything less in a relationship than love. That's probably because she has grown up in a household that has affectionate parents. Yes, affectionate parents in a romance novel! I was very excited when it turned out that not only are her parents loving, caring parents, but they also are in love with each other. Thank you, Ms. Linden, for creating affectionate Romanceland parents. Not only are the parents charming, but Abigail's sister Penelope and brother James seemed as if they were real siblings. Ms. Linden seems to have an affinity for drawing wonderful families who are real. Along with all the squabbles that arise within a family, there is still a wonderful close relationship between all of them. I loved the Weston family. Didn't much care for Milo the dog, but the family was charming.
This story could have been a standard rich American girl (Abigail) saves down-on-his-luck, reclusive, gloomy Gus English guy (Sebastian), but it wasn't. First of all, Abigail was determined to pull Sebastian out of his gloom. Secondly, all I can say is... Sebastian. What a wonderful hero Ms. Linden created in Sebastian! Sebastian is something we don't see in a lot of romance books, a beta hero. Just because he's a gentle man doesn't mean he's not strong. After all, he's put up with slander, ridicule, and snubs for years. To top all that off, he was injured in the war and now walks with a cane. Not only is he lame and without a penny, but he's been accused of stealing money and murdering his mad father. Except for the being lame/broke part, none of the other things are true. But, he has maintained his distance from the people around him, until Abigail. Then everything changes. He falls for her like a ton of bricks. He tries to maintain his distance, but Abigail is a pretty strong-willed woman. She won't let him hide. Eventually, he realizes if he wants to be with the woman he loves, he must somehow prove that he is worth Abigail's love.
Abigail and Sebastian are a wonderful couple; they play off of each other really well, each making the other person stronger. This is more than just a lust-at-first-sight story, although the sexual tension is pretty hot; Abigail and Sebastian like each other. There are some pretty poignant moments in this story when Sebastian is doing little things for Abigail that just made me go awwwww. It was because of these little special touches that I had a irritating/frustrating hiccup moment with the heroine. Without giving too much away, Sebastian has to leave for a couple of weeks and during that time his old friend shows up and is instantly smitten with Abigail. He puts the moves on her and she, much to my dismay, sort of responds. My thought was hey, Sebastian is such a nice guy, you can't wait two weeks for his return? But, that was a minor bump in the road in an otherwise wonderful book.
So for all of you who enjoy a good romance with some wonderful, well-developed people and an especially lovely hero who will steal your heart away, this book is one you don't want to pass up. Great job Ms. Linden!