A powerful love story about two very unlikely individuals. I love romances that are a bit different, ones that challenge the genre a bit. The 'rake and the innocent' has been done to death in historical romance - but never like this!
Our hero, the Duke of Jervaulx is a reckless womanizer - until the day he suffers a stroke. Our heroine, Maddy Timms, is a Quaker spinster who has dedicated her life to helping her blind father with his work.
Uptight and judgmental, but also passionate and brave, Maddy is both drawn to and repulsed by the Duke. She volunteers in the mental asylum where Jervaulx has been incarcerated, and is the only one who does not believe he is mad. However, it is not long before her growing attraction to him gets the better of her...
What happens to Jervaulx after he has his stroke is appalling, but also historically accurate. The 'treatment' for mental illness was once barbaric. The reader really experiences his frustration and anger at being labelled 'mad' when he has merely lost his ability to speak. His stroke strips Jervaulx of everything - status, money and power. He must rebuild his life, stone by stone.
I love Laura Kinsale's writing, her evocation of time and place is beautiful, as is the way she depicts the developing relationship between Jervaulx and Maddy. Both characters begin the tale with some serious character flaws but the story sees them grow enormously. The sexual tension between them is scorching and beautifully written.
Purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.