Sandy M’s review of The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day
Historical Romance published by Brava 4 Aug 09 (re-issue)
This book isn’t one I was to review. I picked it up just to take a peek. Just a little peek. But, heavens, it’s Sylvia Day. Who can take just a peek? Not me. Before I knew it, I was halfway through it, then it was finished. All in nothing flat. Ms. Day is just so danged good, if I’d been able to get my hands on another book of hers from the TBR pile, I would have cracked it open too. You can’t read just one.
And how good she is, Gerard, the hero of this book, in the beginning is not a man I would like very much in the hands of a lesser author. Of course, he’s very young at the start of the story, so he loves the ladies and is as wild as can be. All of that changes very quickly and the man shoots straight into your heart when he runs the gamut of emotion he, and you, never thought he’d see.
To keep his decadent and pleasurable way of life on track, Gerard approaches the mistress of his best friend and proposes they are perfect for each other and should marry, each going their own way after vows are said, not to be bothered . Isabel at first refuses the idea, but Gerard is very persuasive that they both would benefit from such an arrangement and she finally agrees to become his wife in name only.
Emotion hits both a high and a low for Gerard when, first, the love of his life is married. And pregnant by Gerard. He’s ecstatic to be a father, even though he won’t be able to neither acknowledge nor raise his child. Then tragedy strikes and both mother and child are lost in childbirth and Gerard is grief stricken. That scene is just heart wrenching, seeing this carefree character break down. The next thing Isabel knows, he’s gone from her life without a word, so she carries on just as they had agreed and awaits word from her broken, absent husband.
It’s four years later when Gerard returns, and he’s not the man Isabel married. He’s much more serious, harder, and intense than the Gerard she knew before. And he wants a real marriage, something Isabel resists. Her life has gone on just as she likes, she has a current lover who knows the score and she’s happy with that. But Gerard bombards her at every turn with his new self and she’s confused by and in a constant state of arousal with this stranger.
There are stumbling blocks for them from every corner, and though at first Isabel thinks to use one to get out of an impossible situation, she hangs in there to learn about the new man Gerard has become. The scenes showing how he has changed are very telling and you end up loving that man more than ever. Their attraction slowly grows into a wonderful, mature love, despite those problems thrown their way. I also enjoyed the side story of Isabel’s brother, Rhys, and Abby.
There’s not one thing about this book I didn’t like. I doubt Ms. Day will ever write a book I will dislike. She just doesn’t have it in her, as far as I’m concerned.
They are London’s most scandalous couple. Isabel, Lady Pelham, and Gerard Faulkner, Marquess of Grayson, are well matched in all things–their lusty appetites, constant paramours, wicked wits, provocative reputations, and their absolute refusal ever to ruin their marriage of convenience by falling in love with one another. Isabel knows such a charming rake will never appeal to her guarded heart, nor will she sway his philandering one. It is a most agreeable sham…until a shocking turn of events sends Gerard from her side.
Now, four years later, Gerard has come home to Isabel. But the carefree, boyish rogue who left has been replaced by a brooding, powerful, irresistible man who is determined to seduce his way into her affections. Gone is the devil-may-care companion who shared her friendship and nothing more, and in his place is temptation itself…a husband who desires Isabel body and soul and who will stop at nothing to win her love. No, this is not at all the man she had married. But he is the man who might finally steal her heart…
Read an excerpt.