From the moment they met, Marjie’s heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley’s sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be. It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie’s joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was. In the wake of Stanley’s blatant disinterest in renewing their acquaintance, Marjie’s devastation turns to determination as she vows to help him find peace. But his scars run far deeper than anyone realizes. Despite his feelings for her, Stanley believes Marjie deserves a man whose hands are not stained with the violence of battlefields and whose mind and heart are not haunted by the horrors he has seen. Honor requires Stanley to return once more to the life he has grown to despise, one he knows will destroy him in the end, even as his heart beckons him to stay with Marjie, the only woman he could ever love, and the promise, at last, of redemption.
I believe that love takes on all kinds of shapes and forms. Love can be desperate. Love can be gentle and sweet. Love can be sparking and fiery. Love can be patient and enduring. The very best word I can come up with for the love in this book is yearning. I felt it so strongly throughout. A strong, yearning love.
Marjie yearns for love from Stanley and she also yearns for love and validation from her sister, Sorrel. Marjie is sweetness personified. She has a gentle soul full of desire to please and care for people. Marjie is hopelessly in love with Stanley and wants nothing more than to be loved by him in return. Her love yearns for his.
Stanley also yearns for love but doesn't believe himself to be worthy of that love- not from his family and definitely not from Marji. Stanley is broken- physically, emotionally and mentally, from the horrors of war. It honestly broke my heart. Stanley loves Marji and he yearns for her love in return but doesn't feel worthy of it.
This was one of my favorite scenes from this book and I wanted to share a bit of it. It is a scene between Stanley and his young niece.
"If you stay, Stanby, your hurt will get better too." His vision blurred with the sting of tears he refused to shed. He wanted to believe it, wanted to believe there was a cure. "I can love you bigger than the biggest hurt."
"That is a great deal of love, Poppet." Stanley tightened his grip on her.
"Do you have a lot of hurts?" Caroline asked.
Stanley tried to clear his suddenly constricted throat, blinking against the pooling moisture in his eyes. "Yes, I do." The words were barely audible. Where had the soldier gone? Where was his self-control?
She lifted both her little hands to his face, touching his cheeks. "There are so very many of us," Caroline whispered, leaning in close to his face. "We can love you all better." She ran her palm along his cheek, wiping away a tear that had escaped his eye. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into him.
I loved the arc of this story. There is hurt and misunderstanding but that eventually gives way to healing and love. That sense of yearning throughout the whole book really tugged at me and my heart became invested in this book. I loved it. I think this is one of my favorite books of the Jonquil Brothers series. Oh, and the ending was perfect. <deep, breathy sigh>
Content: Some war related memories, PTSD symptoms, kissing
- I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
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