The Beloved One
I so enjoyed reading The Beloved One; there were so many things about that I just loved. I loved the Cinderella storyline where we first encounter the heroine, Amy Leighton, literally in the ashes. I loved the setting – America at the beginning of the Revolutionary War and Georgian England (such a refreshing change from the regency). I loved the hero, Lord Charles de Monforte, the Beloved One of the title. A paragon without being a prig. The secondary characters were all engaging and the love scenes were some of the most warm and sensuous I’ve read in a while. Unfortunately, The Beloved One was marred for me by an ending that stretched my suspension of disbelief to the snapping point. I don’t want to give away too much, but it involved a dance, a fire, a catapult, a flying machine and King George III.
The Beloved One is a sequel to Ms Harmon’s earlier book The Wild One. I have not read it, yet, but Ms Harmon does a wonderful job of giving you enough incidents from The Wild One so that you know what has gone on before without spoiling the earlier book for you in case you want to read it too. (I sure do).
Lord Charles de Monforte should be called The Perfect One. He has always done everthing correctly and is noble, brave, true, trustworthy, generous and handsome (you may add your own superlatives here). If you think from his description that he’s too wonderful to exist, believe me, he’s not like that at all. Charles really is a good man.
At the Battle of Concord, Charles suffers a blow on the head that leaves him temporarily blind. He finds himself in the care of the Leighton family and in the special care of Amy Leighton. Amy is the maid-of-all-work in the family. She is the product of an affair her mother had with a Mohawk chief and although she has a home with the Leightons, her half sisters treat her with cruelty and their father lets them get away with it. Charles quickly realizes that Amy is a genuinely kind person and becomes her champion, to the disgust of her half-sisters. These two witches plot to intercept letters from Charles to his commander, his brother, and his fiancee and forge replies. The consequences of their deception shatter Charles’s self-esteem. All his life he has been the beloved and perfect one and now he has failed and is sunk in self-loathing.
If it were not for Amy’s kindness and understanding, Charles would be even deeper in despair. Amy’s horrible home life has not left her bitter and hateful – instead, she is loving and sympathetic. Amy, with her love and trust, acts as a catalyst, and makes Charles realize that not only is he beloved, he is truly loved by his friends and family no matter what.
The Beloved One has so many good things about it that I wish the ending had not been quite so over the top. However, the ending did set the stage for the story of the next Monforte brother Andrew, The Defiant One. Andrew is a scientist, one of my favorite characters and I am very much looking forward to his story.