Alexander, Earl of Thorne, thought he finally had found the woman of his dreams. But when Sarah fled just weeks after their wedding, his world came crashing down. Five years later, he has given up hope of ever finding her, until a freak accident strands him in a remote Yorkshire village where she is hiding. Sarah dared to hope she was finally safe. But when her husband is thrust back into her life, she fears her dark secrets and the fact that she has a son will come to light. Though her heart longs to reclaim the love they once shared, Sarah rejects Alexander’s offers of reconciliation. But fate is not so easily thwarted… Forced from their home by a flood, Sarah and her child have no choice but to accept Alexander’s hospitality in her former home. Yet with each passing day, the risk of discovery grows, threatening to drive Sarah from Alexander’s life forever. Is their love strong enough to triumph over the secrets of the past? Or will life’s cruel forces finally tear them apart?
Publisher and Release Date: Montlake Romance, January 2013
Time and setting: 1810 – 1815 England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer rating: 4 stars
Review by Vikki
I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to read this wonderful story. Hazel Statham writes with passion and strong emotion and is a marvelous weaver of an engaging tale of love denied for the noblest of reasons.
Sarah, the young Countess of Thorne, flees her husband of four weeks when her brother brings her devastating news of something that could rock society and ruin not only her but her new husband as well. She disappears from Alexander Markham, the Earl of Thorne’s life in 1810.
Five years later, while on a business trip, Alexander catches a glimpse of Sarah, but before he can confront her, he’s run down by a dray wagon. Sarah sees him, runs to his side ane has the unconscious Alexander taken to her cottage. When the doctor examines the earl, he finds out that Alexander is paralyzed from the waist down and may never walk again.
With no choice, Sarah offers her husband shelter, but she lives in fear that he will discover her young son is his child. As Alexander struggles to regain some mobility at least, he tries to get Sarah to tell him why she ran away. Sarah refuses to get him any information.
When a flood washes through her cottage, Alexander convinces her to travel to his ancestral home, Radland Abbey, while her cottage is repaired. Alexander tries to find out why she left him years before to no avail. When she receives news that her cottage is beyond repair, she agrees to accept help from him, but only if he promises to let her go and not try to find her again.
After Sarah leaves, he can’t stop thinking about her. Determined to unveil her secrets, he sets out to find her. Can Alexander win her trust and gain her heart? Will Sarah open up and face her fears?
I thoroughly enjoyed Hazel Statham’s writing. Her strong knowledge of the regency period shines forth in the very cadence of her writing. While there was a bit of repetition in her dialogue and her narrative, it wasn’t enough to detract from this moving, heart-felt story. The novel was so engrossing that I could overlook issues such as a bit of head hopping and repetitiveness. Those are the only reasons I did not rate the book more highly.