Top positive review
28 people found this helpful
Emotionally satisfying, wonderful
on 25 March 2004
Again Mary Balogh has given us a work of believable emotion that goes beyond the superficial (though usually enjoyable) wit, games and flowery love of other romances, to give us a satisfying journey into the hearts of two people. I contentedly sobbed my way both with joy and sadness through several sections of the second half of this book, and was very glad I had not given up on it as I was almost tempted to do at the beginning.
Initially I found neither Lauren or Kit particularly sympathetic characters. Lauren especially is so tightly locked up inside herself that she seems to have little to live for and little desire for a life. However along comes Kit Butler. Kit's older brother has died and Kit is now expected to give up the life he has made to go home, learn to be the heir and marry the woman his estranged father has chosen. Kit, understandably, is determined to avoid a marriage to the woman who had abandoned Kit to become engaged to his older brother. Though his initial thought is to marry someone totally unsuitable, to spite his family, he is mature enough to go in the opposite direction and pick out the most proper and suitable Lady he can find, Lauren Edgeworth. He sets about cold bloodedly courting her.
This is the bit of the book that is difficult to get through, they are stilted and superficial and you keep waiting, impatiently in my case, for them to start communicating with each other. And that is the point, once they do it's like watching a flower open as they get to know each other. Kit produces his calculated marriage proposal, Lauren turns him down, then much to her surprise demands an expanation of him as to what is going on. Once he's told her she further surprises herself and him by suggesting she masquerade as his fiancee at his parents country house party and help him establish his place back in his family and avoid the arranged marriage. In exchange for which she asks Kit to help her try to live a little (not be her lover), to try and be a bit more like other people. So in freeing Lauren to live and in helping Kit reconcile with his family, Lauren and Kit heal, grow and learn to love. Just fabulous.