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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 8 March 2013
This is an endearing love story following Edward Thurston and Lady Jennifer's journey after the break-up of their betrothal, and it is told from both character's perspectives. You cannot help but feel for handsome Edward, who has returned home from war severely affected - both physically and mentally - by the atrocities that he was part of whilst away. He cannot bring himself to ask Jennifer to deal with this aftermath and so he breaks off their engagement:

"Ironic is it not? To the outside world `twould appear that I have time aplenty, but you see, I have not. I am to be married, John. Or, more rightly, I was to be married. Yet how can I expect a wife to commit herself to the wreck I have become?"

Edward is a very caring man, close to his family and very honourable, so when Jennifer later needs his help, he does not turn her away. What follows is an unexpected adventure that allows them to finally get to know each other properly.

Despite the seriousness of the topic of post-traumatic stress, this book has a lot of fun elements. I love the quirkiness of Lady Jennifer - she certainly isn't your usual historical romance novel heroine. She is feisty, she is smart, she isn't afraid of other people's opinions of her and she certainly does not swoon. But she is confused about her feelings for Edward and at times somewhat naïve of the complications of love:

"Ned, I must know. Did you offer for me out of a sense of honor? Did you feel obligated to offer marriage?"

She saw his shoulders stiffen, and his tone was cold when, without turning, he answered, "If that is what you truly believe, you silly girl, then yes. If that explanation satisfies you, and it is how you perceive it, yes."

There is also a sense of mystery to this book. Edward is obsessed with a miniature portrait which he took with him to war and depended on during his long convalescence. Why can he not let it go? Who is the image of? What does it mean?

This book is a mix of adventure, romance and mystery. It's not highly descriptive, but focuses on a well-crafted plot. I liked the myriad settings, with the characters going from the London ton scene to country estates to travelling on public coaches and staying in cheap inns with commoners. The pace and intrigue make this a real page turner - I wanted to know what would happen and who was in that portrait, and I wanted to keep reading to make sure that Edward and Jennifer would be happy. I was not disappointed, but I was kept guessing until the end.

I look forward to reading more from this author.
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on 30 August 2014
I have read Hazel Statham's book 'For Love of Sarah' which is a fabulous historical romance so was keen to read this.

Edward Thurston and Lady Jennifer are engaged to be married by family arrangement but have had little time to actually get to know each other with Edward having to leave to fight a battle in Spain. He returns badly injured but what has kept him going during the war and during his recovery has been the little minitiaure he carries of his betrothed. Badly injured with his outward appearance markedly altered he sees no alternative but to release Lady Jennifer from the engagement. At the same time not knowing of his injuries Lady Jennifer has come to a similar conclusion but for the simple reason she feels she doesn't know him and he has neglected to send her any messages the whole time he has been away.

When at their meeting Edward releases her and advises the marriage can not go ahead Lady Jennifer is quite shocked and upset that its not her doing the breaking of the engagement. Subsequently they meet at various gatherings and grow closer and Lady Jennifer more attracted to Edward although neither will admit to their true feelings. Subsequent turn of events lead them on an adventure to rescue a sibling and finally a conclusion to all the misunderstandings between the two of them concerning their true feelings and the portrait resulting in a lovely conclusion to the story.

A lovely historical romance that shows how little mementoes can mean so much to men in battle and how for many of them its an important part of seeing them through it and back home, giving them the will to carry on. I wish Lady Jennifer and Edward Thurston had resolved their misunderstandings alot sooner but they do get there in the end!
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on 2 August 2014
Not my usual genre, but I think the daily offer must have caught me in an odd mood - so I bought this, duly read it and enjoyed it for what it is. It's reminiscent of lots of other historical romances and felt familiar for that, but nonetheless, enjoyable. I think I must be sentimental in my old age, even taking it to the point of wondering where all the honourable, principled men are nowadays. He's a very appealing character and if romances are your thing, I'd heartily recommend this one.
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on 21 August 2014
This was my second book by Hazel Statham and I rather enjoyed the story of Edward Thurston and Lady Jennifer who were betrothed before he went off to war and out of a sense of duty when he returned he broke it off (before she could). Then began the journey of then getting to know each other and him helping her out and throughtout he had a miniture portrait of her which he had carried everywhere (unbeknown to her). This is a sweet romantic read and I really enjoyed it.
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on 1 April 2015
Enjoyed this a lot. Very easy to read and the blossoming love between the earl and Jenny was a delight. Rather predictable storyline, but what was so different was the fact that the hero, Ned, was a maimed hero, after losing his arm at the Battle of Salamanca. Give this a try if you enjoy Regency Romances.
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on 15 June 2013
Hazel is one of my favourite authors as I love the feel of her work each and every time ... for me she's strongly reminiscent of Georgette Heyer's.

As this read formed part of Dilly Dally's Blog Hop, I left it quite late to review it because we had a trip to the Beating Retreat planned for 13th June at Horse Guards Parade Ground in London (bonus for us we had front row seats really near the Royal Box, and have a fabulous view of Her Majesty).

They featured a short enactment of the Battle of Vitoria (21st June 1813), which was part of Wellington's campaign in the Peninsular.

As our Hero, Edward, was injured at Salamanca, and it seemed like a perfect way to get some idea of just what it might have been like for him to fight, let alone be so badly injured.

Believe me when I say that it really must have been terrifying. Just being in the audience at Horse Guards listening to the jangle of harness, the sound of the gun carriages and the shot of just one cannon with lots of smoke and fireworks was awe inspiring. Let alone being under heavy fire, the many cannon being fired, the smell of gunpowder hanging in the air, as well as that of blood and guts and death. Coupled with cries of his Comrades in Arms and horses.

It's no wonder the poor man suffered so badly from night terrors, brought on no doubt by what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress. It was also completely understandable that he would also feel less of a man because of it and the loss of his arm to boot. No small wonder then that he cried off his engagement to Lady Jennifer.

Rating:

Hazel's writing was just delightful as always, and it was completely enchanting to find that Edward had carried the portrait of the girl he'd fallen in love with through the Campaign, and looked to it for comfort whilst he went on with the rest of his life.

For me it had to be no less than a 5 star rating for the quality of the writing and plot. It's never difficult to engage with her characters'.

Errors/Bug Bears:

Nothing to note down. Kudos to Hazel for a well delivered and quality product.

NB: My blog post for this book (#363) also includes various links to details on the Battle of Vitoria and the Dilly Dally PR Blog Hop.
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on 9 September 2014
Having read a number of heavy and serious books recently it was good to have a book that didn't require any great effort to read and enjoy. There was enough in the story and characters to keep me interested and to look forward to picking up my Kindle again to read another chapter or two. Would definitely read something else by Hazel Statham.
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on 21 February 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. a lovely story that leaves you smiling. easy to read and highly recommended for a good read.
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on 14 December 2014
I enjoyed this story and found it a refreshing change with no violence and no explicit sex scenes. The tension in the book arises from the misunderstandings between the hero and heroine and their brothers provide some excitement as well.
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on 28 July 2014
This was the first book i read from this author and I liked it so much I bought another one as soon as I finished it. It has very likeable characters and nice little twists in the plot just when you think you know what happens next.
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