Review – Remember Love by Mary Balogh

Remember Love

About the Book:

The handsome and charismatic Earl of Stratton, Caleb Ware, has been exposed to the ton for his clandestine affairs—by his own son.

As a child, Devlin Ware thought his family stood for all that was right and good in the world. They were kind, gracious, and shared the beauty of Ravenwood, their grand country estate, by hosting lavish parties for the entire countryside. But at twenty-two, he discovered his whole world was an elaborate illusion, and when Devlin publicly called his family to account for it, he was exiled as a traitor.

So be it. He enlisted in the fight against Napoleon and didn’t look back for six years. But now his father is dead, the Ware family is broken, and as the heir he is being called home. It’s only when Gwyneth Rhys—the woman he loved and then lost after his family banished him—holds out her hand to help him that he is able make the difficult journey and try to piece together his fractured family.

It is Gwyneth’s loyalty, patience, and love that he needs. But is Devlin’s war-hardened heart even capable of offering her love in return?

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My Review:

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I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Reviewed by Rose 3Devlin Ware is a young viscount, seemingly living an idyllic life at his family’s country home.  He is learning how to manage the estate for that distant time when he inherits the earldom.  His family is happy, their tenants and the town are content, and they are well respected.  If only Gwyneth, from the neighboring estate loved him instead of his brother.. Then one magical day, at the annual fair, Devlin learns that Gwyneth is indeed best friends with his brother, but they have no romantic feelings for each other.  In fact, Gwyneth has been in love with Devlin forever, too.  A sweet kiss starts what would seem to be a beautiful romance, until disaster happens.  A sordid family secret, Devlin’s reaction, and the ensuing fallout tears the family apart.  Devlin is sent away from home.  The serious and dutiful young man who only knew how to be a gentleman, enlists as a common soldier and goes off to war.

Gwyneth Rhys has enjoyed her friendship with her neighbor, Nicholas, for many years.  They played as children, and still maintained their friendship even into young adulthood.  Yet, when people begin to speculate that an engagement if in the offing, they both agree to spend more time apart.  This gives Gwyneth the opportunity to spend time with Devlin, the man she really loves.  Their magical day ends horribly, and Devlin visits her the next morning to advise her that he has been banished, and is leaving forever.  Gwyneth’s anger, tears, and harsh words don’t change Devlin’s mind, and he departs, with both of them being broken hearted.

Six years have passed, and Devlin has become a hardened, scarred soldier, rising to the rank of captain on his own merit.  Two years ago, he learned that his father died, and he was now the Earl of Stratton.  Still, he didn’t return home until now, with the fighting finally over.  He reluctantly returns to his former home, finding that his family has changed as much as he has.  His broken relationship with his mother is polite, at best.  His sister, once outgoing and social, has become a recluse.  His other siblings never knew the full details of the fallout from years ago, and tread lightly.  Devlin only hopes that Gwyneth has long since married and moved far away.  He is soon to find out that Gwyneth has turned down proposals, and is still living next door, though equally hoping not to encounter Devlin.

Of course, Devlin and Gwyneth are bound to meet again.  They are both stilted and polite, and their contact is initially painful.  My heart broke for the gentle, kind, dutiful, and moral young man who only acted in what he felt was a justifiable manner, and had his whole life upended.  He now feels he has lost his ability to love, and only exists to do his duty to his title.  Ever so slowly, the warmth of the townspeople begins to chip away at his walls.  At long last, his family begins to talk, and a little more of the walls come down.  When a convenient marriage to his former love comes within his grasp, he accepts, while making it clear that he has no love to give.  REMEMBER LOVE is a compelling book, with a very complex situation at the heart of the conflict.  I truly love Devlin, as I admire the qualities he had as a young man, plus, I always feel for a soldier (or anyone) who bears wounds, physical or mental.  The heartwrenching story is a sometimes painful, but ultimately joyful, tale of Devlin’s journey, which takes him back to happiness, once he is able to REMEMBER LOVE.  This is another beautifully written book by Mary Balogh, who is a master at penning stories that delve deep into emotions, and hold the reader transfixed.    ~Rose

Rating 4.5heat level warm 2

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