After enduring a severely difficult childhood, Merripen, real name Kev, is left for dead until the Hathaways find him and take him in. He finds a sort of home with them, though his awareness of his past prevents him from engaging fully as a son of the family. Unfortunately for him, however, he has loved Winnifred Hathaway since the first moment he saw her, and she is the reason he stayed with the family in the first place. He can never tell her, though, since a worthless gypsy is not who she deserves. Win, weak from an illness, knows that she can’t show Kev how she feels about him until she gets well, but that just adds to her determination to finally win the man she’s loved for so much of her life and show him that he is worthy of her after all.
I loved this book. It’s so emotionally charged and their relationship is so tortured that I just couldn’t look away from the page. Kev is again a tortured hero, but in a such a realistic way. He was treated like he was dirt for his entire childhood and those beliefs have been driven into him. It’s not a surprise that he considers himself unworthy of Win, but also that he just can’t stay away. She’s the perfect antidote for his harsh upbringing with her gentle but determined ways. Watching them overcome the barriers between them was fascinating, compelling, and moving. I also loved the flashes back to their youth together and the development of their relationship, and there is plenty of development here. I couldn’t put this book down and I read it long after I should have been asleep. Definitely, definitely recommended. This is what romance should be. And now I’m really looking forward to this author’s other work!
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