I'll say up front that Mary Balogh's newest book isn't going to work for everyone. It's a slow-build, slow-burn romance between a pair of guarded, reserved adults who come to their HEA in small, careful steps. Doesn't sound like a barn burner does it? But for this reader it was a nearly perfect read that let me settle in and savor each moment of the read.
Six years ago the trajectory of Abigail Westcott's life was forever altered when it was discovered that her father was a bigamist and she and her siblings were suddenly found to not only be disinherited but illegitimate to boot. Though she has since recovered from the shock, with the help of new family who have enthusiastically absorbed her into their midst, sometimes being a part of the Westcott clan can be a bit much. At this point in her life she's looking for a little peace and a respite from the family's attempts to keep her in a society that has largely rejected her in recent years. When she learns that Harry is returning home after nearly a year of recovery in France from war wounds, she sees his convalescence as her chance. She'll become her beloved brother's caretaker as he continues to recover and have some much needed quiet time. Abigail's hopes get upended when she starts off on the wrong foot with the man who made sure her brother made it home alive.
Gil Bennington, a lieutenant colonel, had hopes of his own. He was determined that every man made it home from the war and bringing Harry back to his family is his last stop. Once he has returned Harry to the bosom of his family he intends to try and pick up the pieces of his own life. But Harry and the Westcotts are not easy to withstand and when they urge him to stay longer, he reluctantly agrees, Even though he's sure that if they knew his past, especially the snooty Miss Abigail, they'd be just as quick to shove him out the door. So why doesn't he just say something? Make them all uncomfortable, especially the snooty Miss Abigail, and get himself gone? Gil is stuck. Stuck by his attraction to Abigail and the warmth of a family that is as like chalk to cheese to his own.
After their initial missteps Gil and Abigail find they have much in common and take cautious steps toward one another. And thus the slow dance begins. A lovely and charming book where even the wounded can find love.