Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Honor by Jaimey Grant

5 *****

Reviewed on September 21, 2011

Before Jaimey Grant’s Honor, I had never read a modern Regency romance and, save for a few classic authors such as Jane Austen, I’ve never been a big romance novel reader at all. So I was beyond pleasantly surprised by just how much I loved this beautiful story and to find I absolutely could not put it down until I read the last word.

The novel opens with Lady Verena Westbridge fleeing her home so as to escape being forced into marriage. At first it seems that, perhaps, she is simply a strong-willed woman who disdains the customs of her day, but as her story unfolds, it becomes clear that her desire not to marry has a much more tragic foundation than only that of wishing to avoid a relationship with the loutish noble her father has chosen for her. Hiding her true identity and working as a housemaid, she is rescued from the unwanted attentions of one of the homeowner’s guests by Lord Connor Northwicke, who befriends Verena despite her efforts to dissuade him. When the truth of her station is discovered, however, Verena is forced to accept Connor’s offer of marriage to save her from her father’s terrible choice of husbands. It is only then, as she struggles with her new role of wife, that an understanding of her fears of marriage are brought to light, Connor’s patient attempt to earn her trust allowing her to slowly reveal the abuses she’s endured in her past.

The depth and sensitivity with which the author portrays the horrific pain and humiliation Verena has suffered and the realistic depiction of her heartrending journey toward healing are exceptional, as is her portrait of both Connor’s gentle patience and terrible frustration as he tries to help Verena overcome her fears. This story offers the best and truest type of romance, for me, as Connor’s desire for Verena is born of real love, not simply physical attraction. Despite his natural human passions, his respect for Verena as a person and his longing to be with the woman he loves for everything he sees in her, gives Connor the strength of will to help her heal so she might know love in its fullness as well. Although the romance is not steamy in the sense of being graphic, there is definitely no lack of passion in this story, and both Connor’s frustrated desires and Verena’s conflicted feelings are extremely palpable and very moving.

A beautifully-written and well-crafted story, I highly recommend this novel to any reader looking for an amazing historical romance which shows why there is no true love without honor for the beloved. I eagerly look forward to reading more works by this talented author.

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