This is my first Sherry Thomas book, much to my dismay. I’ve chatted with other readers who have read her books and while they all enjoy their reads, it’s a split decision on whether they like the flashbacks that Ms. Thomas utilizes. I have to say that I rather liked this element use in NQaH. It gave me more insight on the characters both in the present and in the past, sometimes giving me a look at what gave rise to the current circumstances. It worked quite effectively.
We learn about the hero and heroine’s childhood and how they met at the same time we’re learning about them and how they’re reconnecting in real time. We also learn why Bryony had her marriage to Leo annulled so quickly even before Leo himself finds out, which is the bottom line that runs through this story. Ms. Thomas does an excellent job of then giving us their romance and love story all over again as they go through the trials of forgiveness and rediscovering each other through danger and heartbreak.
It’s been several years since their annulment when Bryony is surprised by Leo showing up in India where she’s putting her medical knowledge to good use. He bears bad news concerning her father, and though she doubts the veracity of the news due to its origination, she agrees to accompany him back to London to make sure all is well. This is where those flashbacks really shine in the story. While they both are wary around each other now, we get see how things really happened when Bryony approached Leo with her request to end their marriage, how he was thrown for a loop by that request, not seeing it coming, and how they acted around each other through the whole process and then how they’re currently reacting to each in the present.
This continues through their journey home, giving the reader more and more insight into these two characters. The trek they take is enlightening for both of them, as well as fraught with danger, and they end up in the middle of an Indian attack on an English outpost, suffering seven days and nights of not knowing if they will survive, seven days and nights of getting to know each other body and soul all over again. These are terrific moments between them during this time. They love and they share their thoughts and feelings more than ever before, bringing them closer and showing them they really can make a life between them work.
Back home in England, they still have a few issues to get through, but this time around they’re more open with each other, know each other better, and have decided to trust each other. I really enjoyed Leo and Bryony. Leo is more of a beta hero with moments of alpha-ness that all have to do with Bryony and his feelings for her, his sorrow at the hurt he caused her. I like that he’s open and willing to talk to her when the time calls for it. Bryony is strong-willed and very independent, has covered the globe in her post-annulment days, not sure at all what she now wants out of life. I thought at first she might make Leo pay even more dearly than she had before, but she’s definitely grown up in her traveling years and now faces everything much differently than before.
I really enjoyed Ms. Thomas’ writing. I have her previous books in the TBR pile and have every intention of cracking them open as soon as I can.
Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn’t possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?
Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?
Read an excerpt. (scroll way down)