My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Earls Next Door #2
Publication Date: 10/24/17
What a truly engrossing read! The prose is excellently written, the pacing is just right, and the HEA is hard won and well deserved! I loved my introduction to Michelle Willingham’s work and definitely look forward to reading more from her. This was a real can’t-put-it-down book and I definitely have to go back and read the first book in the series now!
Lily Thornton has loved Matthew Larkspur, Earl of Arnsbury, for a long time. When her father was trying to marry her off and Matthew was getting ready to leave for India, she and Matthew said their vows in front of a priest – but there was no license – and they both knew it. But they had a one night honeymoon. Lily lived on that one night for the two years it took Matthew to return – a scarred and broken man. He had been captured in India and tortured for over a year – horrible torture that I won’t describe. It broke him physically and mentally. In today’s world, we would say that he has PTSD. He loses himself in remembrances of the torture and can hurt someone.
Lily has visited Matthew almost daily since his return, but he’s broken and he doesn’t want her to cling to a broken man – so he tells her he doesn’t remember her. Oh – but he does. She doesn’t give up and keeps visiting. She seems to have a calming effect on him and he is drawn toward her light. Until something happens one day and he hurts her.
Matthew is eaten up with remorse and now Lily is afraid of him. She still loves him, but she keeps her distance from him. That is what really draws him back into the world – that and getting rid of all of the medications he’s been taking. He needs a clear head if he is going to deal with his demons and win Lily back.
Matthew is a sly devil and knows how to woo this particular lady. Oh! Yes, he does. Not with flowers, candy or jewelry – but with veterinary books and a correspondence course. Can you believe?
There are also some pretty nasty villains in this book – Matthew wasn’t captured by accident and the perpetrators are too close to home for comfort.
A couple of reviewers have commented on the speed with which Matthew handled his PTSD and criticized Lily for giving up on him. I beg to differ with them. If you look at the amount of time the story says elapsed, it wasn’t exactly quick. Yes – it happened within a few chapters of the book, but the elapsed time covered in those chapters isn’t terribly short. Then, regarding Lily – he really frightened her and hurt her – I would think anyone would have to think twice about being in his company given those circumstances.
This was a truly excellent read!
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”