After reading the last book in this series, I was eagerly anticipating Robert's happily ever after, and Grace Burrowes did not disappoint! This was exactly the book his character deserved, with so much character growth, healing, and the opportunity to have the life he always wanted. It took me several days to get through this book, I'll be honest, mostly because I am one of those people who have "invisible" ailments, who the author dedicates this book to. There comes a very real, and distressing, understanding of Robert's situation, when you have gone through even a smidgen of what he went through. My situation doesn't even come close (I have very supportive parents, for one thing), but I remember the first time I realized something was wrong with me that I couldn't control. It's terrifying and it's even worse when people don't understand it. During Robert's time period, a person with any disease that people didn't understand was hidden away, often left in asylums that tortured them and held them prisoner until they died. Grace Burrowes did a fantastic job of creating a realistic character, and it was heartwarming to see his growth as a person and his belief in himself grow stronger each day.
Constance Wentworth never thought to see Robert Rothmere again, but now he's back in her life ten years later, a duke and her soon-to-be brother-in-law. Having met him in a private hospital, which she'd fled to after receiving heartbreaking news, she remembered him well, but after writing to him once and receiving no reply, she assumed he was firmly in her past. Now in her present, the Duke of Rothhaven is enchanted by Constance. Robert has never forgotten how kindly she treated him during those months she worked at the hospital, and upon seeing her again, he feels a stirring beyond friendship that he's never felt before. As they grow closer, Robert feels guilty for bringing her into his problematic world, but Constance refuses to give up on him and their relationship. And while Robert may have an obstacle in front of him, Constance has one of her own that she has yet to share with him. One that could change the course of their relationship, for better or worse.
As I stated above, Robert was a very well-written character, completely believable in how he felt about his past, his illness (epilepsy), and his future. It was why I had such a hard time reading it - I could feel both his affection for her and his anxiety over losing her. It was difficult to read at times, because I could relate so much to it. Constance was exactly the woman he needed in his life, completely unafraid to take on whatever challenges he faced and all the while facing her own. She was his light, which he desperately needed as people plotted against him. Possibly the worst (and by that I mean best written) villainous couple I have every laid eyes on reside in this book. Truly awful people who deserve every bit of unpleasantness that can be thrown at them, honestly. Bravo to the author, for creating not only realistic main characters but also creating villains we all love to hate.
Perhaps even more anticipated than Robert's book has been Stephen's book, and I'm happy to say that his story is next! I'm so excited to see him be happy, and his lady love has already been introduced and is lovely. I can't wait!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**