“Two young women go to London for their first season. Jennifer Winwood, long engaged to a man she barely knows but trusts implicitly and her younger cousin, Samantha Newman, fresh-faced and naive.
In Dark Angel, Winwood is in love with her betrothed Lionel Kersey but has spent little time in his company, content to nurture her love with daydreams of married life. Arrive on the scene, the Earl of Thornhill, out to avenge a dastardly wrong that Kersey has committed against someone under the Earl’s protection. A glove to the face would be too simple and a duel too quick to satisfy Thornhill’s need for revenge. What better way to punish Kersey, than to seduce his innocent country bride? But Kersey does not stand by idly, Jennifer is threatened by the truth and Samantha, the caring and supportive cousin, is hurt in the process.
Lord Carew’s Bride flashes forward five years to Samantha , still feeling the effects of a betrayal at a young age and unable to shake the feeling that love is cruel and deep emotions treacherous. She meets a neighbor, a gardener with a crippled leg and hand, at a country home she is staying at, and feels happier and more comfortable with him than with anyone else of her acquaintance. The crippled gardener, Lord Carew, is mesmerized by Samantha’s beauty and kindness and does nothing to hide the fact that he is infatuated with her. But Lionel Kersey returns after a lengthy stay on the continent to wreak havoc with his cousin, Lord Carew and with Samantha, who he claims a history.
The thing I like the most about Balogh’s books is that her characters are real. They make real mistakes, feel real emotions and are hurt and love in tangible ways. These heroes and heroines have conflicts and inner turmoil and doubts. When they triumph, it is easy for the reader to feel their joy. I’m not sure how she does it, but for Balogh readers, it is what brings us back to her stories again and again.
Holly Bush wrote this review Friday, June 15, 2012.