How have I not read the previous books in this series! I have definitely missed out on a really amazing lead-up to this book, if the story enclosed is a testament to the previous ones. I loved all the characters, especially the two main characters who were so perfect for each other and didn't realize it at first. Kerrigan Byrne has a way of creating characters that are vibrant, flawed, and entirely relatable. I appreciate that so much in historical romance, where sometimes it can feel so long ago that it's hard to find commonalities. A good historical romance writer can show you the past in a way that allows you to see yourself in it, to feel as if you could do what they did. It's empowering and inspiring.
Gabriel Sauvageau had no intentions of ever allowing Felicity Goode to see him again. After saving her life and injuring himself in the process, he allowed everyone to think he was dead while he was really getting treatment for injuries he had sustained long ago. Injuries that had, until now, required him to wear a mask to shield his true face from the rest of the world. With a new face, he fully intended to join his brother abroad, leaving Felicity to a peaceful life without him. But when her life is in danger and she needs a bodyguard, she hires him, thinking he is Gareth Severand, a rough-looking giant of a man who makes her feel safe. Gabriel can't leave her now, and so he moves into her home and watches as she considers suitors that will allow her to keep her inheritance from her late father. She requires a man with a title, but as she spends more time with her protector, Felicity finds that what she really needs is him, Gareth. Scars and all.
This couple was so romantic, it made my heart melt as I read through the pages. Felicity was so innocent and adorable, with her bumbling ways, her quiet and unassuming demeanor, and her reluctance to let servants go. Her anxiety attacks endeared her to me further, as it made her so relatable for me, as I have suffered from the myself. In a world where composure is valued above all else, it must have been terrible for her to hide her condition from everyone. I loved how Gabriel accepted Felicity, and instead of looking on her as weak, he saw her inner strength and was completely willing to be the rock she could cling to when she felt like she was drowning. Gabriel was such a sweetheart as well, and while he was as innocent as she in the ways of a sexual relationship, he knew that what he felt for her went beyond anything he had felt before. He had literally been holding back his feelings for her for years. It made their coming together all the sweeter, when they could each love each other the way they had wanted to for such a long time.
Even if you haven't read the previous books, you absolutely can enjoy this one. However, I will be going back and reading the others, so I can fully appreciate the story. The Goode family is one not to miss.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**