Rating: ★★★★ and 1/2
Synopsis: Gillian of Warewick knows no other treatment than the terrible physical and mental abuse issued by her father. When he arranges a match for Gillian with Christopher of Blackmour, she is fearful: Blackmour is rumored to be an evil sorcerer. When Gillian meets him, he proves to be far more of a man than her father is, yet he is unwilling to be a lover to Gillian. She finds that Blackmour has as many psychological scars to heal as she has physical scars.
Review: This book honestly makes me cry almost every time I read it. The emotions are so raw and visceral, I literally can’t help it. This book is very much an emotional rollercoaster, with a plot twist I was genuinely not expecting. Although parts of this book are truly painful and gut-wrenching, watching how each of them struggles with their identities and worth, I love this book. The wholesomeness is enchanting and the growth that each character goes through is inspiring.
Gillian’s fear and insecurity are totally warranted, with the abuse she went through with her father and now being offered to the “scourge of England” and Christopher really didn’t help matters for either of them, trying to battle through his own struggles; and yet I cannot blame him. Although I could hardly accept what Christopher had done, he also had experiences that make me understand why he assumed the actions he took. The pair of them are suited for each other though, that I cannot deny.
I think throughout the book, the character development from both the main characters and others is brilliant. Although Gill and Chris have the most emotional growth, supporting characters such as Colin, Christopher’s right-hand man, also develop in his demeanour and confidence. The detailed storytelling allowed me to visualise the story and the dual points of view helped me understand the struggles and judgements made of each character.
The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars is I didn’t enjoy the plot twist at the end. Although it does display the extent of the growth of the characters throughout the book, I just felt it was a bit exaggerated and unrealistic. I understand it is meant to mimic a scenario that is mentioned within the book, but I felt it could have been executed in a slightly different manner that would not include so much stubbornness. Especially, as it is meant to highlight their growth.
Regardless, I still love this book. Gillian’s gentleness and the fact she is easily cowed and hurt against Christopher’s harsh and brusque manner at the beginning of this book hurt me physically although, that is just the power of great storytelling! The development throughout the book is inspiring and heartwarming. I always come back to this book when I just need some wholesomeness, and oh my it is a brilliant remedy!