Monday, January 5, 2015

His Saving Grace by Sharon Cullen

Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh, Sharon Cullen’s captivating novel tells the deeply emotional tale of two devoted lovers facing the ravages of war.
For months now, Lady Grace Ashworth has mourned the death of her beloved husband—until the day a very-much-alive Michael arrives at her front door. It’s nothing less than a miracle. However, Grace soon realizes that this Michael isn’t the same man who left for the Crimean War. She’s stunned to learn that he has suffered a devastating head injury. Putting all her own desires aside, Grace resolves to devote herself to Michael’s recovery and to love him no matter what troubles may come.
Convinced that his wife is wasting her time on a broken man, Michael attempts to shield Grace from a life of inconvenience by driving her away. But Grace will have none of that. Despite every obstacle Michael throws in her path, she stubbornly soldiers on, fighting not only for their marriage but for the love they once shared. In the end, will her determination alone be enough to save Michael from the darkness that threatens to consume him?

Published & Release Date: Loveswept, December 23, 2014

Time and setting: Victorian England 1855

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Vikki's Musings

I received an advanced reader copy from Net Galley for an honest review. I’m so glad I took a chance on this incredible story. It is a story that will haunt you and cling to your memory for days after you finish the book. This is a story of overcoming great odds and coming out of it a stronger and better person.

The deep emotional pain that Michael Ashworth, the Earl of Blackbourne experiences, ate at my soul and brought tears to my eyes. His utter despair at times is palpable. At times, I did get a bit irritated with Michael when he is at his lowest, but ultimately, he faces up to his challenges and begins to move forward. However, this is after he puts his wife, Grace, through a lot of needless pain.

While this story does have several secondary characters, it is primarily about Michael and Grace and their struggle to be together and learn to live with his disability, a disability that cannot be seen by the world. It is a disability that would torment anyone, and especially a strong, proud man such as Michael.

The story opens with Grace as a widow, mourning the loss of her husband, Michael, who is presumed dead from a great battle of the Crimean War. His brother has assumed the title and has accepted a marriage proposal from Sir Timmons. While Grace’s year of mourning is almost at an end, the last thing she wants is to marry again when she is still deeply grieving Michael’s death. The only man she will ever love.

As she contemplates whether she should marry Sir Timmons, a carriage pulls up at the Dower house, and a man remarkably like Michael climbs out. At first, she does not believe it is her beloved husband, but then he shows her a small scar, and she steps into his arms for the first time in almost a year.

While overjoyed to find out Michael is alive, He has returned a changed man, gone is the laughing warm-hearted gentleman. As they try to pick up the strands of their life and move forward, Michael’s disability builds a wall between them. Can Grace help him learn to cope, or will he allow it to tear them apart?

I love Grace’s determination and will to help Michael adapt to his changed world. She refuses to cower when he gives into his temper, anger he never had before his injuries. She is a true saint and never gives up on him, even when he is at his worst. She fights for their love, even when Michael attempts to send her away.

This is not an easy story to read. It’s filled with angst as Michael faces the changes his disability has caused in his personality. One thing that is never in doubt is the love they feel for each other, but this couple has to go through a lot to find their HEA.

The story line is quite unique and kept me turning the pages. Ms. Cullen does an excellent job with building tension, yet not so much that it frustrated me. The timing of the love scenes are close to perfect and highly charged with passion and deep emotion.

If you enjoy a well-written historical romance with great character development then this is a book you will want to read. I will be looking for other books from this talented author. Happy reading!

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