Love Is Blind
Love Is Blind and so is Lady Clarissa Crambray. Or practically so. Being practically so myself, I enjoyed reading Clarissa’s story and felt an immediate empathy for the most near-sighted heroine I’ve ever read.
Clarissa is in London with her horrid stepmother who is trying to get her married off this Season. She refuses to let Clarissa wear her spectacles – and in fact, broke them in half and threw them away – for she is sure that Clarissa will never find a husband if she’s wearing those horrible, ugly things. However, she has done Clarissa no favors, for without her glasses, Clarissa is forever having accidents, gaining a reputation as a graceless idiot, and the nickname “Clumsy Clarissa.” Though lovely and possessed of a good dowry, all her suitors have deserted her, save one elderly man, and she is in danger of losing him when she sets his bagwig afire.
There is also the matter of her “unfortunate past.” When she was fourteen, she was kidnapped and married over the anvil by a fortune hunter. The marriage was annulled, the perpetrator brought to trial and imprisoned, but ten years later, she is still viewed as “damaged goods.”
Adrian Montfort, the Earl of Mowbray, is pretty much “damaged goods” himself – or at least he thinks so. Wounded ten years ago on the Peninsula, he has a terrible facial scar and retreated to the country when more than one young miss fainted at the mere sight of him. Now out of mourning for his father, he is in town with his mother to do his duty and find a wife.
He likes Clarissa. He thinks she’s smart and funny, and laughs for the first time in years. He is a bit chagrinned to admit that he also likes that she cannot see him very well – that must account for why she doesn’t cringe when in his company. He quickly learns of her situation with her stepmother, accepts her “unfortunate past” and, when the stepmother forbids him from seeing Clarissa, enlists the help of his family to meet Clarissa clandestinely. One of these meetings results in being found in a compromising situation and they are quickly engaged and married.
Their meetings are sweet, funny scenes, and Adrian and Clarissa are likable characters, but I kept thinking that everything was going very smoothly, there wasn’t a lot of conflict here. But, my fine Romance Reader’s Eye suspects that there is something afoot: a couple of Clarissa’s clumsy accidents were potentially life-threatening, and sure enough, the attempts on Clarissa’s life escalate as the book progresses. Who is trying to kill her, and why?
I really did like Clarissa and Adrian; they are very fun and sexy together. Adrian is so insecure about his appeal and whether Clarissa will be able to bear to look at him once she gets her spectacles back, that you can’t help but sympathize with him a bit. But, when he actively sets about to delay Clarissa’s progress in getting glasses, he lost me. Everything is a blur to Clarissa – so much so that she has to have servants lead her around by the hand lest she trip over furniture, and has to wear a bib when she eats because she can’t see the food well enough to get it to her mouth without dropping it. As someone who is every bit as blind as Clarissa, the thought of having to go months without glasses because some man is insecure about his looks, just made me see red. To be fair, Clarissa also has her insecurities about her looks. She does manage to procure, on her own, a pair of glasses which she wears when alone. But she can’t bring herself to wear them before Adrian, fearing he will find her every bit as ugly as her stepmother has always said.
These silly and annoying attitudes about the glasses along with a distinct lack of real conflict – the murder plot actually gets less page time and emphasis than the fears surrounding the wearing of glasses – made the book less enjoyable for me. But Clarissa and Adrian are such engaging characters and their love is sweet and believable. As one would expect from Lynsay Sands, there are many funny moments, and Adrian and Clarissa’s wedding night and her fears of Adrian “smashing her pie” were very funny.
Love is Blind is sweet and funny, a quick and pleasant read, and a good book for those in the mood for a light, low-conflict book.