Genre: Regency Historical Romance
THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.
Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.
**In the interests of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the author with no strings attached. It is my personal choice to write this review and these are my honest thoughts about the book.**
THIS BOOK WAS JUST AMAZING… SO HEARTBREAKING YET SO UPLIFTING!
I found myself totally engrossed in the story and just could not put it down. It was so compelling and so rewarding. I found myself experiencing so many emotions…revulsion, hatred, sorrow, hope, laughter and joy. This story touched me deeply on so many levels.
From the very first page when Michael reads his cousin’s letter, I hated Leo Standish. To put it bluntly he was an evil, manipulative, sadistic bastard! Even from the grave his malignant presence is all pervasive. Kudos to Ms Owens for creating one of the most repugnant villains ever. It made me all the more determined to read on and see his evil presence ultimately banished forever by the power of love!
To read about what Diana suffered at Leo’s hands was so heartrending but, despite everything, she still retained a core of inner strength. She was stronger than she thought…she survived. Not only did she survive but she also raised her son Jamie to be a fine boy. But she bears the scars of Leo’s horrific abuse, both physically and emotionally. She is a shadow of the beautiful, spirited, laughing girl she used to be. She no longer trusts any man and cannot bear to be touched by one. I understand the anger she feels towards Michael and her resistance in accepting his offer of help. She feels his betrayal deeply and fears the cold, powerful, determined man she sees now may be just like Leo. But she realises that Michael is nothing like Leo and, although it is a slow process, she comes to trust him and see the man she fell in love with all those years ago.
Michael is racked with guilt because he feels responsible for what happened to Diana. He had promised to protect and cherish her but he had simply walked away leaving her to Leo’s tender mercies. At first, he simply wants to help her…provide adequate food and somewhere to live… but soon it becomes more than that. He wants to see that spark she once had…he wants to see her smile again. When he is with Diana and Jamie he feels a sense of contentment, a feeling he does not want to examine too closely.
Following Diana’s journey to “finding her wings” again is, at times. heart-breaking:
Resentment and hurt, feelings she had long thought dealt with, hit her with the force of a fierce storm whose screaming winds toppled hundred-year-old trees. She hugged her knees, pressed her face against them and helplessly sobbed for the first time in years. And as she wept, she let the pain of Michael’s betrayal and Leo’s brutalities consume her. She cried until she had no tears left and when she was done, the heaviness in her heart eased a bit.
and, at times, heart-warming:
Michael picked up another slice and handed it to her. She stared at the bread in her hand, her heart beating furiously in her chest.
“Go on,” Michael said.
“Do it, Mama,” Jamie urged.
She looked at Michael once more to make sure she didn’t see any trickery in his eyes and then threw her bread. A tiny burst of laughter escaped and she slapped her hand over her mouth. Jamie giggled and Michael gave her a smile of approval. A sliver of the fear that had held her captive for eleven long years fell away.
but so rewarding.
I totally fell in love with Michael. I love all the things he does to make Diana happy…the way he teases her and makes her laugh. Most of all I love the crazy letters he sends her about the imaginary cats after she runs away.
The scene, where she finally shows Michael the scars she has kept hidden from him, is so moving and so incredibly beautiful.
“This is what I see when I look at you.”
He held the up the rose. “Perfection, Diana. I see perfection.”
There is a fascinating assortment of secondary characters who add richness to the story :
* Michael’s French born, meddling mother, Lady Suzanne Daventry who insists on regaling her son with details of the “fun” she had with his father, something Michael definitely does not want to hear about!
* Michael’s valet Hansen who is always being threatened with dismissal. The repartee between these two is just so funny. Here is one of my favourite exchanges…
So it is my fault I am bleeding like a butchered pig?” Michael grabbed the mirror and glared into it, but couldn’t see anything past Hansen’s hand and the cloth. “Move your paw, man, and let me see.”
“Dogs and cats have paws, your lordship. I am human, thus I have a hand.”
“You are being impertinent. I have half a mind to dismiss you with no reference. What have you to say to that?”
“If your temper doesn’t improve soon, my lord, I have half a mind to quit, no reference necessary”.
* Jamie is such an adorable child and the scenes between Michael and him are poignant, charming and funny
* I must not forget one other important character…
I could wax lyrical about this book for hours but I simply want to say thank you to Sandra Owens for giving me the privilege of reading this fabulous book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5 stars
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read August 2013