It has been a long time since I last read a Lynsay Sands book, and honestly, after reading this one, I'm wondering why the heck I waited so long! The dark nature of the story's beginnings was lightened by humorous moments, and the interactions between the characters as they made their way to safety. I really enjoyed every character, from the healer hero, who makes his money through saving others rather than waging war, to the battered lady, whose strength makes you forget the hurt she must feel inside at all the horrors she has seen. They were definitely one of my favorite couples of the books I have read this year, and this will certainly be on my Favorite Books of 2021 list, once the new year starts!
Rory Buchanan is eager to return to his homeland of Scotland when he receives an urgent message from a noblewoman whose Scottish blood urges him to obey - Collect a treasure and bring it to Sinclair. Not sure what the treasure is, Rory is skeptical and becomes concerned when he realizes the treasure is not a "what" but a "who." Elysande de Valance has just watched her father be murdered, her mother broken and paralyzed, and she herself beaten black and blue. Sneaking out of her home, leaving behind a dying mother, is perhaps the hardest thing she has had to do, and now she must journey to safety in the company of men she doesn't know. Rory is intimidating in size, but his nature is gentle as he helps her heal, both physically and spiritually. It's not difficult for Elysande to grow close to him, but danger lurks everywhere, putting their safety at risk above all else. The time for romance is later, when they can be sure they'll live to see a future at all.
This couple was so easy to fall in love with. Rory was the type of hero that we all want more of - strong and protective, gentle and nurturing, and best of all, humble and possessing a sense of humor. Was there anything I didn't like about him? Not really. He checked all my boxes for the type of hero I like, which I realize probably makes him totally unrealistic these days, but I still love this character. Elysande was a great partner to him, as she was strong, gentle, and humble as well. Despite all that she went through, her spirit remained unbroken, which was evident when seeing her have such faith in the people around her. She could find the humor in life still, and I'm not sure I would have the same strength in that situation. The fact that Rory was a healer and Elysande also knew the healing arts was a wonderful addition to the story, as it put them on more equal footing and showed Rory that someone could need him for just his presence alone, not what he could do for them. Not being a warrior, he wasn't sure what to do when his healing skills weren't as needed, and it was fun watching him reorient his perception of things. Overall, this couple made the story amazing, and I kept thinking about them long after the book ended.
I am certainly adding Lynsay Sands to my list of authors I watch, and I'll need to go back and read what I have missed of course. This was a book to remember and one I'm sure will not be forgotten in my mind for a long time.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**