3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tender, character-driven historical romance!,
This review is from: When a Stranger Loves Me: Pembroke Palace Series, Book Three (The Pembroke Palace Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
When a Stranger Loves Me is the third installment in USA Today bestseller Julianne MacLean's Pembroke Palace series. In the previous book, The Mistress Diaries, Lord Blake Sinclair went missing and we find out precisely what happened in When a Stranger Loves Me.
Lady Chelsea Campion has lived somewhat in exile on the island of Jersey for the last seven years. At 18, she ran off with a fortune hunter and created a scandal that her family has never been able to live down. And now she feels the pressure of possibly having to marry her father's cousin and heir because her brother (the current earl) and sister-in-law have produced no offspring after ten years of marriage. Despite this, she is happy living on the wild Jersey coast. She loves walking along the beaches and cliffs and listening to the pounding waves crashing to the shore. Doing so feeds her imagination and breathes life into her writer's soul. While on one of her seaside excursions, she discovers a man's gold watch with the initials B H S inside and immediately starts daydreaming about whom it might belong to and what the initials might stand for. She then enters one of the sea caves and is stunned to see a man laying face down on the ground. A naked man. Chelsea checks his pulse and then hurries home to summon help. The unconscious man is seen and treated by the doctor and when he later awakens, he has no idea where he is, how he got there or even who he is. Chelsea befriends him and eventually conjures up a plan that may save her and her family -- she intends to seduce the handsome stranger and conceive an heir. What she didn't intend was losing her heart in the process. When her scheme is exposed and her lover's identity is revealed, Chelsea is left wondering if their love will be enough to withstand all of her lies.
Chelsea is one of those characters that, despite the fact that the reader knows she is doing something dishonest, you can't help but sympathize and root for. She has a good heart and good intentions in wanting to atone for her past sins by helping her family out now. And as much as she thought she was happy with her life, it isn't until she spends time with Blake that she realizes that writing a romantic story and actually living one are two completely different things.
Blake is confused and discouraged because of his memory loss. He has no clue of his name, his station in life, of any responsibilities he might have or of any family or friends. It was as if his life started the day he was rescued in that cave. Because of that, he clings to the only thing he does know - the beautiful woman who saved his life, Chelsea. Ms. MacLean did a fantastic job conveying Blake's amnesia. It was extremely realistic and I truly felt his frustration in needing to find out who he is and also his trepidation in not wanting to know because it might disrupt the happiness he found with Chelsea.
When a Stranger Loves Me is a beautiful, tender love story full of the heart and emotion that Julianne MacLean's books are known for. If you're longing for a stirring, character-driven historical romance, look no further - this one is definitely for you!
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