Sophie Jordan certainly does that! Annalise Hadley thinks she has struck gold, not only has she been reunited with her wealthy father and found she has sisters, but she is marrying a duke. A duke who seems to care for her in spite of her limp and normal features. However on her honeymoon barge the horrible truth comes out about her duke as he tries to kill her and she is thrown overboard. Unconscious, she washes up on shore and is found by the reclusive Earl of McDowell, Owen Crawford. An unconscious woman is not what Owen wants to deal with but something about her grabs him and he know he can not let her die. With the help of some gypsies Annalise starts to heal on the outside but her emotions are quite strained. Unwilling to trust another man, she decides to keep the truth about herself from Owen but after a time, her past comes back to haunt her and she must decide if Owen is worth the risk of the truth. Owen is battling his own inner demons following his turn as a solider and Anna seems to heal him but will the truth of her past shatter the bond they have created?
This story grabbed me from the beginning and never let go! Annalise grew up not knowing her father and suddenly she is thrown into a whirlwind and she handles it well but she is used to being alone in her solitude. Owen shows her that she can be stronger and smarter with knowledge and skills to protect her from anything bad happening to her again. Annalise also helps Owen see that he needs to honor his past by living and helping him move forward from the horrors of war. I also really enjoyed watching this relationship slowly develop. We get to see each part and how all those parts fit together to become whole and complete. The only thing I wished that would have been different is when Annalise finally told Owen the truth. Secret keeping always is hard for me to accept and I think it would have suited Annalise better if she had explained the truth sooner, especially after her past catches up to her. Overall though, this is a enjoyable romance with a dash of intrigue with forgiveness, love and heat. Well done. 4 stars.
eARC provided by Avon Books via edelweiss
Forgotten Princesses series
Could be read as stand alones but the novella really ties in with this story