It amazes me that so many historical novels send their heroes off to war, yet rarely do they sustain any significant injuries. Usually a scar or a limp is the worst that occurs. In reality, the death tolls were high, and the wounded were numerous, even among the aristocracy. It stands to reason that many soldiers suffered traumas such as brain damage. Sharon Cullen deals with this issue realistically providing no quick fix for our hero in His Saving Grace.
Lady Grace Ashford, the Dowager Countess of Blackbourne, has been sent to the Dower House after her husband was killed in battle. Her brother in law, Nigel, doesn’t care that she is still young and that the house is in disrepair. He’s interested in the income she derives from the former Earl’s estate as his widow. That’s why Nigel has arranged for Grace to marry Sir Clayton Timmons, a kindly man who obviously dotes on her, yet one whom she still rejects. It’s only been ten months since the true love of her life was killed in the Crimean War. Still, she is lonely and perhaps the gentle Sir Clayton would make a good companion. Then, miraculously, her husband returns from the dead. Grace is ecstatic, until she realizes that the post war Michael is very different from the loving husband she remembers.
Of course, there is a problem. Although Michael looks fine, he has a secret which he refuses to share, brain damage resulting in excruciating headaches and memory lose. Names elude him and the past is fuzzy. Instead of turning to Grace, Michael relies on his Cossack Servant, Tarik, who nursed him back to health out on the battlefront.
Although Michael continually rejects his wife and tries to push her away, Grace persists in her attentions, seducing him so that he eventually accepts her help and, together with Tarik’s assistance, they learn to cope. The one glitch is Nigel who would take over the Earldom if he ever discovered the truth. Grace easily dispatches her brother-in-law before he becomes too much of a nuisance.
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the other three books in the Secrets and Seduction series by Sharon Cullen, so I was looking forward to previewing His Saving Grace, a romance from the Victorian Era. Unfortunately, it was somewhat of a disappointment. Cullen usually has numerous twists and turns in her novels, but this book is pretty straight forward. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough plot to carry an entire novel which included too much repetition of the main characters’ thoughts. Even though this topic is an issue which needs to be explored, there should have been some additional conflict. Perhaps more of the story could have involved the nasty Nigel, or the author could have delved into the life of the rejected suitor and found a romance for him. A novella might have been a better choice for this particular story.
Although His Saving Grace is well written, has stimulating sex scenes, and explores a difficult subject, it needed a little something more.
I can only give this book three and a half stars.
I would like to thank Loveswept Books and Netgalley for allowing me a free download in exchange for an honest review. This review has also been posted on Goodreads.