His Saving Grace by Sharon Cullen
Overview by Amazon:
For months now, Lady Grace Ashworth has mourned the death of her beloved husband—until the day a very-much-alive Michael arrives at her front door. It’s nothing less than a miracle. However, Grace soon realizes that this Michael isn’t the same man who left for the Crimean War. She’s stunned to learn that he has suffered a devastating head injury. Putting all her own desires aside, Grace resolves to devote herself to Michael’s recovery and to love him no matter what troubles may come.
Convinced that his wife is wasting her time on a broken man, Michael attempts to shield Grace from a life of inconvenience by driving her away. But Grace will have none of that. Despite every obstacle Michael throws in her path, she stubbornly soldiers on, fighting not only for their marriage but for the love they once shared. In the end, will her determination alone be enough to save Michael from the darkness that threatens to consume him?
This is a sad, haunting story. There are moments of brevity and joy, but it was a realistic story of a couple finding their way back to one another. Michael shows up on Grace’s doorstep after she believes he died fighting in the Crimean War. But the Michael who steps out of the carriage is a mystery to her. She grieved so hard and long for her wonderful marriage, it should have been a joyous reunion, but Michael is still recovering from his head injury and not the man she knew.
From flashbacks of both characters, we learn of the charmed life they once lived. How they were young and in love with each other and life. Michael didn’t have a title of Earl yet, but they were so happy together in the country. They laughed, they were friends, and they were essentially soul mates. In all their time married, they never conceived a child, yet it was not a milestone around their necks, it just simply the way it was. And since they were so happy together, it wasn’t something they couldn’t get past together.
Now that Michael has returned, there is no togetherness. There are no more laughter or fun times. He is suffering from a brain injury that has taken some of his faculties with it. He is unable to recall words, has short term memory problems and has difficulty walking at times. He feels like a broken man and as much as he longs for his wife, he turns away from her because he can’t bear to live as he is now.
Grace is truly a saint. She has the patience of a thousand people. She never gives up. She doesn’t give up on finding ways to help Michael, to bring him back to the person he was and truly, truly accepts who he is now. She wants him in her life regardless of his injury and the things he perceives as flaws. She is one step ahead with ideas, suggestions, accommodations that will make his everyday life easier. She is committed to living with her husband and won’t accept his insistence that she’s better off without him.
The one place the two characters connect is the bedroom. Once Grace worms her way back into Michael’s bed, it is as if time never happened. They are passionate lovers and the intimacy they share is a big part of making the marriage work. The author is quite descriptive with the love scenes and you feel their joy that at least this part of their marriage isn’t work.
I loved the moments when Michael would just watch Grace and admire her. He truly loves her and that is why he came home rather than stays on the continent or commits suicide. His heart calls to her and he struggles every step to find a way to fit back together.
This book doesn’t have the miracle happy ending a lot of historical romance novels do, but rather a realistic hope that two people who love each other so much will make it work. Maybe that is the miracle. That after all they have been through, they are still willing to be together and to love one another for who they are now.
I shed a few tears reading this book, not because of how sappy or sad it was, but rather because of how touching and deep the love connection is. Most people would love to have someone in their life that completely accepted them as they are and loved them with no reservations. A lovely story to read.