Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Lovers and Legends, #7
Release Date: September 1, 2018
If you read the previous book The Knight’s Scarred Maiden then you already know Nicholas of Mei Solis, he is the scarred knight that helped Rhain escape the vengeance of Reynold of Warstone. If like me you wondered about his past, the wait is over!
Commanded by Rhain to return home and settle his past, Nicholas dreads returning to his holding and the only woman he ever loved, the woman who promised to marry him and married his best friend while he was away. Six years ago, Nicholas was happy and in love, he left Mei Solis to earn coin for the property, he said he would return in two years and left even after Matilda begged him to stay. Two years turned to three and with it a horrific injury and the news that his love married his friend Roger. That news kept him alive, alive to seek vengeance on his erstwhile friend and his faithless love. Now three years after receiving the news, he is back and ready to put the past behind him and move on with his life.
Matilda loved Nicholas with all her youthful heart and begged him not to leave, but leave he did, without even a proper goodbye. At first he wrote her letters and she wrote back, but then his letters to her suddenly stopped without explanation, but he continued to correspond with Louve, the estate steward. Believing he broke their betrothal, Matilda marries his friend Roger, she writes to him one last time to tell him of her marriage, and tries to love her husband as he deserves. Nicholas, Matilda, Roger and Louve all grew up together and were dear friends, but what Matilda felt for Nicholas was much deeper and she was heartbroken when he broke their betrothal.
She was content with Roger, but never loved him as she did Nicholas and feels guilty about that. Roger is dead and she is pregnant with his child, she has tried very hard to change and become the type of person she believes Roger wanted her to be, she curbs her adventurousness and her temper, but Nicholas’s returns and treats her like she betrayed him, she cannot let that go without speaking her mind.
They talk and argue, each believing they are the wronged party and slowly they begin to accept their own roles in the break down of their relationship. They form a tentative peace, but Matilda is sure Nicholas is leaving again and refuses to trust him. When Matilda goes into labor, Nicholas is by her side and after the baby is born, keeps his distance for weeks, until he hears her crying.
Something breaks in Matilda after Julianna’s birth and she feels like she is drowning in despair and grief. When Nicholas comforts her, it feels right and later when he insists that she stay in the manor, they finally have it out – the love they shared, never truly died, but hurt and mistrust are not easy to let go of, and when Reynold shows up, Matilda is sure Nicholas is lost to her forever.
This was a very emotionally charged book filled with misconceptions, mistrust, forgiveness, second chances and growing up. I personally felt that they both could have tried a little harder to communicate while he was away and Matilda was more angry than I believe warranted (for someone who married and had a child with another man) and I would have liked the ending to be a bit more specific regarding their HEA. But it was a very good story and makes me want to read Reynold’s book all the more!!!