Armand, Comte de Valere was a young child when the French Revolution came to his family’s country estate. He watched as the peasants came to burn his home and barely escaped with his life. In the chaos, he lost track of the rest of his family, his parents, older brother and twin brother. He found his father only to see him loose his head in Paris. Scared and alone, Armand ends up in jail for twelve years and is only released when his older brother, Julien finds him.
Armand is not the same brother that Julien remembers. Armand has nightmares and hates to be in the dark. He loves space and freedom. Seldom is he found wearing shoes or even more than a shirt and pants. Worse, Armand has forgotten how to speak and has difficulties follow conversations even though as a child he knew several languages.
Felicity Bennett has applied for the position of a tutor. She dreams of some young child and comes to London full of expectations. Her father, a poor country vicar, has recently died leaving her very little. Her mother died several years previously and her only relation is an aunt who has six children on her own.
On her father’s death bed he signed an agreement with Charles St John giving her hand in marriage to Charles. What her father didn’t know was Charles is a drunk and gambler. He would make a horrible husband. He tells Felicity that for 25 pounds he will tear up the agreement. Felicity doesn’t have 25 pounds so really needs this position as a tutor.
Shocking events become the norm as Felicity learns her student is a grown man and that grown man loves music. She’s able to get Armand to say a word just so she’ll play earning her the position. Armand is shocked himself. He can touch Felicity without pain! He can’t do that with anyone else. To keep the music and Felicity around, Armand is willing to brave the painful memories.
The attraction that Armand has towards Felicity is not appropriate but the fact that Felicity feels the same way could be disastrous. Armand is a peer and Felicity is a no one. Julien isn’t going to let his brother marry just anyone but can he stop love?
This is the second book in this three book series. You do not need to read the first book to enjoy this one. The few things that are not in this book, while interesting, truly aren’t necessary to thoroughly enjoy this story.
The characters are very well done. They have a history which impacts their present giving them a multidimensional feel. Felicity knows her place and tries to stay in it yet she finds herself drawn to her student. Armand is probably the most complex character as he isn’t speaking at the beginning of the book yet he isn’t stupid and is capable of thought. It’s learning the ability to express that thought that frustrates him!
I did have some concern with how quickly Armand is able to recall words and interact with people. I felt it went a bit too smoothly but there was enough conflict and struggle to keep it somewhat believable.
I love the fact that the story, itself, has multiple layers. The obvious one is Armand and Felicity. They’re relationship has everything else revolving around it. St John threatening Felicity, wanting money and having an engagement agreement adds some tension but the two strange men snooping around in the garden are from Armand’s past. The past he doesn’t remember and that could be a deadly problem.
Fantastic historical romance full of darkness and light. I was intrigued by Armand’s story from the start and couldn’t wait to see what it would reveal. What it did was not expected but so right. Felicity is no weak wimp. She knows what is proper but she has no resistance when it comes to Armand. Yet, she would kill for him, though both hope it doesn’t come to that. Unique and unexpected twists tie up all the loose ends while an unexpected encounter sets up the next book.
I’m coming to love the de Valere family. They are hard headed and stubborn but loyal to each other and those they love. I can’t wait to see how they locate Bastien and what his story is.
Twelve years in a French prison have left the once dashing Armand Harcourt, Comte de Valere a hollow shell of his former self. Though safely back on English soil, Armand remains locked in a prison of his mind, unable to interact with the glittering social world that was his rightful place. When his family hires the beautiful and determined Felicity Bennett to teach Armand, he is shaken by the onslaught of desire Felicity awakens in him. As Felicity slowly helps reclaim Armand, their passion begins to blossom into a transcendent love capable of healing the scars of both their pasts.