There are those who bemoan the loss of quality historical romance and sometimes after a particularly bad read, I am inclined to agree with them. But every once in a while an author comes along with a book so incredibly engrossing that I am one again hopeful that the genre will survive the glut of unimaginative, lackluster crap that's put out there.
Composer Dylan Moore is as famous for his brilliant music as he is for his wild lifestyle and his reckless antics. During one wild escapade, Dylan takes a fall from his horse and hits his head on a rock. He survives the fall but the injury caused by the impact creates an incessant buzzing sound in his head that drowns out the music. Tormented by his inability to compose Dylan is driven to near madness and in his typical dramatic fashion tries to take his own life at a concert hall where he had conducted his most brilliant works.
His savior turns out to be the hall's hauntingly beautiful charwoman who manages to convince him in a no-nonsense way that he has something to live for even if it doesn't seem like it at
the time.Dylan concedes, not because of her speech but because for the first time since the accident he is able to hear music. So,the good news is that Dylan might be able to compose again.The bad news is that his muse has disappeared without a trace.
Five years later, Grace Cheval is nearly destitute when she runs into Dylan Moore again. This time he will stop at nothing to possess this sensual woman who has the ability to bring back the music his life revolves around. Grace, on the other hand, already played muse to an artist with disastrous results so she fights Dylan tooth and nail every step of the way. Then one day Dylan's life is changed forever when a daughter he never knew he had is dropped off at his doorstep giving him the perfect excuse to bring Grace into his life. The ever practical Grace, being almost homeless at this point, decides that taking a post as governess to Dylan's daughter is the lesser of two evils.
So,she agrees as long as he understands that she will not now nor will she ever accept to become his lover or his muse.
It is no secret that I'm a sucker for tortured heroes.Dylan Moore is magnificent in his torment and the author does not try to sugarcoat him at any time. He is a gloriously moody,selfish, self-absorbed, devil-may-care bad boy.But, at the same time she gives the reader teasing glimpses of the tender, thoughtful, loving man that lies beneath and it makes for a very potent combination. She also suceeded in creating a perfect heroine for him. Grace is a practical, strong, smart woman who is completely unafraid of her sexuality. She has made some terrible mistakes in the past but she will not crucify herself for them.In short, she is a breath of fresh air in a time period that is polluted with self sacrificing virgins. I also loved Isabel, Dylan's daughter. Other reviewers have pointed out that she was too articulate for an eight year old ,however, the author did describe her as a musical genius like her father. So, the character seemed true to life for me. As for the plot, it's certainly nothing too original, however, the author makes it work. To me this is proof that a good author can breathe life into any old tired plot. In the end though, I just couldn't award the book five stars because I felt Grace held out for much too long and then when she finally gave in to her desires, her about face just seemed too sudden for me. I also thought the end cried out for an epilogue but that's just a small quibble on my part.
After putting out two great books in a row Ms. Guhrke has become an auto buy author for me and so I urge any serious romance reader to run out and buy this book. You will not be disappointed :)