Saturday, February 18, 2012
Gabriel Fairchild's valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, the man who once walked like a prince among London's elite secludes himself in his family's mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.
Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn't possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel's life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets - and some pleasures - are best explored in the dark ...
I loved, loved, loved this book! Teresa Medeiros is one of those hit or miss authors for me, but let me assure you, this one's a hit. This is the story of Gabriel Fairchild, a war hero who was blinded during the Napoleonic Wars. Home now at his country estate, he must learn to cope with being blind, losing his fiancee and getting on with his life. No longer the perfectly handsome gentleman who made women swoon and fall at his feet, he's now bitter over how his life has changed. Not only is his face scarred, his psyche is as well. He lashes out at anyone and everything. He behaves like a savage at his country estate and everyone is afraid of him, including his parents and siblings. No one has the courage to stand up to him - except for the new nurse, Samantha Wickersham who enters into his life.
I loved Samantha. Strong willed and smart enough to take this monster on, for that is what Gabriel has become, she takes none of his anger and self pity - all nonsense. Outmaneuvering Gabriel over and over again, she never gives up (although she comes close at one point), she finally wins him over and teaches him to re-learn the manners he once had. She wakes him up to reclaim the gentleman that once lived inside his body. She shows him that he must learn to live with the fact he is blind and will most likely never regain his sight again. There is a slim chance that someday his eyesight will be come back, but it's a dim hope. He must be realistic and with Samantha's help he can do it. Not only does this domineering force in his household turn his life all around, but she steals his heart as well. A twist on the beauty and the beast theme, Samantha teaches Gabriel to be a better person, while at the same time she seeks atonement for her own past sins as well.
As the two develop feelings for one another, the reader begins to realize there there's more to this story than meets the eye. It was a pleasure to see how they interact, first as enemies and eventually as soul mates. This really was a great story and I loved both hero and heroine. Gabriel is bigger than big, but as they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I loved it how she "tames" him and we see his transformation, all due to her. But there is more to it than just that, which I won't go into, to avoid spoilers. The story deepens when we find out the truth about Samantha's past, it gives the story a whole new dimension. Trust me - it's good.
Not only is the main storyline well done but so are the characterizations. I loved the little thing going on between the butler and housekeeper too! All the servants join in to help Samantha eventually. They want to see her succeed with Gabriel where all others failed. Not only was it thrilling and entertaining, it was heartwarming to follow along with this couple through their ups and downs. *sigh*
Great, great story, very worthwhile - a keeper.
P.S. 4.5 rating because of the one scene towards the end that didn't fit with the rest of the story and seemed very odd and out of character for the h/h.