From beginning to end, this book just completely captivated me. A brief summary (which I'm not very good at, generally, so bear with me):
Nathan Paget, Marquess of Oriel, is a member of an elite, clandestine team of spies known only as "The Ten." He is prepared to leave the Peninsula and return to England (and his fiance) when he and his best friend are attacked.
The attack costs Nathan his sight (although he somehow manages to keep this fact a secret from everyone) and causes some damage to his leg. It also costs him his fiance, who breaks the engagement when she learns he may be disabled permanently. Nathan becomes a recluse for months, hiding away in his country estate, managing to fool everyone about his loss of sight. All except one...
Isobel MacLeod is the eldest daughter of an alcoholic Scottish widower, who also happens to be The Marquess of Oriel's secretary. Isobel has resigned herself to spinsterhood (as she has never been a great beauty like her sisters) and has dedicated her life to caring for her two drunken gambling brothers, and her often drunk father, as well as acting as mother to her two little sisters.
Isobel and Nathan meet when she attempts to return a hefty sum of money that her father stole from his boss. When Isobel realizes Nathan is blind (a fact he has successfully hidden from everyone else), he realizes that he needs her. He offers her marriage in exchange for her silence and her assistance. A marriage of convenience soon blossoms into mutual respect, which soon becomes a burning passion and a love that both Isobel and Nathan never believed they would ever have.
The romance is the primary plot and is supported by a mystery subplot surrounding the attack that led to Nathan's disability, and the possibility that an assassin is picking of "The Ten" one by one.Review:
From their first meeting, there was an immediate chemistry and spark between the hero and the heroine, and it was a true delight to watch them interact. Emma Jensen managed to create a perfect tortured, scarred, and brooding hero WITHOUT making him a total jerk, and actually shows early on in the story that Nathan is a very deep and loving man. My heart ached for Nathan, who really only wanted so desperately to be loved. He is smitten with Isobel very early in the book, which immediately endeared me to him. Isobel is a true delight, as well: intelligent, witty, and strong.
One of the most interesting factors of this book was how humorous it was. The conversations between the hero and heroine were truly funny, and you could see a real companionship developing between them. The way this author was able to combine both laugh out loud humor with heart-wrenching emotion really impressed me. The secondary characters were also very well-rounded and vivid, especially the hero's and heroine's family members.
5 stars, all the way. Highly HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone who loves marriage of convenience plots, tortured/disabled/scarred heroes, and romance with social class differences.
The only downside is that this book is NOT yet available as an ebook or Kindle book. What the heck is that about!? Either way, it's totally worth it to seek out the paperback. Completely and totally worth it. I highly recommend that you do!