Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Dell
Released on February 27, 2007
Simply Love was simply the right book at the right time. I didn’t even know I wanted this story until I was in the middle of it. It was gently-paced, heartbreaking at times, and a very slow burn romance. It was an exquisite story and foreshadows the author’s fabulous Survivor’s Club series and returns the reader to the world of the Bedwyns at the same time.
Simply Love is the second of four books that give four very different and differently hurting women who run a girls’ school a chance at love. These are standalone romances that are closely connected and closely connected to the Bedwyn Saga series, particularly this one so I don’t recommend them out of order.
Anne Jewell plans to spend the summer with her two friends at the school looking after the charity students who live at the school year round. But, then an invitation to spend the summer with the intimidating, aristocratic Bedwyns for a month on the coast of Wales is not to refused when she knows what it will mean for her son to be around all the children and be exposed to good male role models. Anne is beneath the Bedwyns as an unwed mother. She can’t understand how they even tolerate her presence let alone encourage her with their friendship, but they do and refuse to let her hide away in the nursery with the small children. This leads to an unforgettable encounter with the Duke of Bewcastle’s estate steward, Sydnam Butler. She shrinks from his scars at first and shrinks from him because of her first time being attracted to a man after her rape. She wants to deny the unwelcome attraction to Sydham behind a barrier of polite friendship.
Sydham has found a new life for himself. It wasn’t what he wanted, but he won’t let his family coddle him and without his right arm and an eye he lost his ability to paint since he was right-handed. Without his looks, he prefers his solitary life in the small Welsh village as Bewcastle’s steward. Now, with the beautiful Anne visiting the estate with the rest of the Bedwyns he knows he is lonely and wishes he were a whole man once again. Not that she will allow anything beyond friendship. Until the attraction pushes them into something deeper and they end up challenging each other to make peace with their pasts so they can have a happy future.
I ended up caring deeply for both Anne and Sydham. Tragedy hit them and left them working so hard to keep their heads above water that they never realized how lonely their lives have become. This is a friendship with a sizzling undertone of attraction. They won’t do anything about the attraction because she can’t be touched by a man without freezing up and she thinks she’s unworthy. Meanwhile, Sydham thinks his physical scars prevent him from being worthy of courting such a beautiful woman who sees herself as damaged. I loved how her son was cherished by her and befriended by him throughout their unconventional courting.
Once again, the author isn’t afraid to explore darker and deeper concerns beyond the romance with rape, rape survivor, war, torture survivor, illegitimacy, and how family, friends and society respond to these issues.
This story is subtle and requires patience for it to tease out. As I said, it was the right book for the right mood. I love the author’s writing and I look forward to my next encounter with this series. Definitely a recommend to historical romance lovers.
Mt. TBR #69
Fall Reading Assignment #3 Prof. Author Love
Series That Never Ends #9
Library Love #21
Oldie But a Goodie #15