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This was such an interesting story to tell, for a historical romance novel! I think it's the first time I have read a romance with a hero who is mute throughout the story. Elizabeth Hoyt wrote a book with a mute hero, but he does eventually talk towards the end, so his "flaw" is resolved. What Jess Michaels did was create a flawed character and make it so that the flaw wasn't even really considered a problem by the end of the story. By the end chapter, I almost forgot he was mute at all. This, I think, is what really marks this book as a must-read for historical romance readers.
Ewan Hoffstead, Duke of Donburrow, has loved Charlotte Undercross for a long time. But being unable to speak and rendered a freak by his family and the ton, he has imposed exile on himself to keep away from the gossip he knows he would find in London. He doesn't consider himself good enough for his childhood friend. Charlotte once professed her love for Ewan, but after being rejected, she launched into the London season and married. Now that her husband has passed and her year of mourning is over, Charlotte is determined that she have a second chance with Ewan. Fate make sure she has that chance when she finds herself alone in his home due to a bad storm, and Charlotte begins to weaken Ewan's resolve to remain a bachelor forever. With the prying eyes of the ton far away, they both get a second chance at love.
I loved Ewan, almost right off the bat. I am a sucker for a flawed hero to begin with, but a hero who thinks he is unworthy of love? My heart melted. The backstory of how Ewan and Charlotte first met was beautiful, especially the fact that she doesn't treat him as if he is stupid or damaged. In fact, she makes up a form of sign language that only they two know, and it makes their interactions all the more intimate and special. Charlotte was a character who was kind, gentle, and unassuming, which I liked. There is a part where she takes advantage of Ewan that I didn't really care for, and it almost made me put the book down. It was very out of character. However, the author rallies my spirits soon after as Charlotte is immediately contrite. Humility in a character who has done wrong is always a good mark in my book. Both characters were so worthy of the love they had for each other, and it took them a bit of time to see that. I loved it once they did.
Jess Michaels continues to write engaging, appealing books with a range of unique, interesting characters. I cannot wait to see what she writes next!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**