Harlequin Historical 288 pages
August 2010 by Sophia James
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
Living in a gray world of silhouette, Lord Taris Wellingham conceals his fading eyesight from society. He has long protected himself from any intimate relationships.
Plain twenty-eight-year-old Beatrice-Maude Bassingstoke does not expect to attract any man, especially not one as good-looking as her remote traveling companion.
Forced by a snowstorm to spend the night together, these two lonely people seek solace in each other's arms. The passion they unleash surprises them both. Then a new day dawns….
I have read a few of Sophia's books the past year, loved them, even found a second hand copy "From High Seas to Society" this summer and gobbled it down. That book was about Taris' older brother, Asher Wellingham, Duke of Carisbrook, so I was anxious to read about Taris.
Sophia did not disappoint me regarding Taris. Stunningly handsome, proud man, He carries his fading eyesight with dignity, keeping his affliction to himself, using touch and smell and the gray silhouettes and changing light that he can make out as his guide. Even though his fading eyesight was due to a bullet while rescuing his brother, he is not bitter, nor does he hold it against his brother. Taris is vulnerable a times, but never a sniveling weakling mired in self-pity.
His insistence in using public conveyances results in a carriage accident on a snowy country road. Going for help, he and the heroine, Beatrice-Maude Bassingstoke are forced to spend the night in a barn.
Considering the book is called 'One Unashamed Night' I found the night in question rather...tame. Even by Harlequin Historical standards. The passion between the two did not grab me right out of the gate. It was more of a tender experience, which is perhaps what the author was trying to convey. Both are affected and cannot forget the other.
Bea, is rather plain, non-descript widow, her recently deceased husband was a bit of a brute, loose with his fists, and in his final three years, an invalid, due to a stroke. So when offered a night of passion with the handsome Lord Tarrington, how can she refuse?
Again, I love Sophia's characterizations. What lacked in heat in some of their sexual encounters in my opinion, this book more than makes up for it with the hero and heroine, so real they leap off the page. Beatrice holds discussions in her home, on liberal views no member of the ton would invite. Taris is enchanted with her forwardness, and so was I.
As they grow closer, and granted, the encounters do heat up more at the end of the book, Taris almost breaks your heart, he does not want to burden Bea with another invalid to care for. When Beatrice is a visitor to his brother's home one afternoon, Taris stumbles and falls while entering the parlour, Bea immediately assumes the perfection of Taris is marred by a problem with drinking, a problem her husband had. She tries in vain to avoid him, but the pull is too great. While Taris is desperate to keep his ever increasing fading eyesight from her.
A mystery subplot arises, was the carriage accident, an accident at all? But is it all rather secondary to the deep, growing love and attraction between these two damaged people.
And I will say, no miraculous cure pops out of no where to cure Taris of his sight. Not at all. The ending was moving, real and ultimately satisfying.
Even though I wished there was more passion at the beginning of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
3 and 1/4 stars out of 4
KOVER KUDOS: Very romantic, love the frilly cuffs, not sure that is something Taris would have wore, but romantic none the less. 3 out of 4 stars
OTHER BOOKS OF SOPHIA JAMES I RECOMMEND:
His Border Lord, Mistletoe Magic, From High Seas to Society, Masquerading Mistress.
Third brother Cristo Tarringham's story is next. As the third brother in the Wellingham series Cristo is a dark, dangerous and lonely character. When Lady Eleanor Bracewell-Lowen is deposited without clothes on his bed in a Paris Chateau his whole world changes...