When Robert Henslow, the Earl of Knightsbridge visits Mrs. Audrey Blake, the widow of one of his fallen comrades of war to give her his condolences, he finds a very capable blind woman who is being kept a virtual prisoner in her father's home. When Audrey begs Robert to help her escape from her father's hold and take her to the only good thing her deceased husband left her, his country home, Robert devises a plan that will whisk her away from the overbearing man, he proposes marriage. Ah, but is the proposal a real one or just a ruse to give Audrey her first taste of freedom since she lost her sight to a fever at age seven.
Audrey reluctantly agrees to this ruse but swears to never marry again and and be deceived as she was with her first husband, but things aren't as easy as they seem. Although Audrey finally has her dream home, Rose Cottage, she finds herself yearning the understanding and warmth that the Earl of Knightsbridge has so easily given her since the first meeting. Robert is in awe of all that Audrey can accomplish on her own as a blind woman and in his dealings with her, he opens himself to the possibility that maybe the fake engagement should be a real one. Convincing the finally free Audrey however will be a tremendous task, but one that Robert does not shy away from.
When Audrey's petulant sister Blythe appears at Audrey's doorstep to take in Rose Cottage and see how her blind sister is getting on, she is greeted by both Robert and Audrey, who are both extremely wary of Blythe's intentions, as Blythe has never really gotten on well with her sister. Poor Audrey must deal now with her sister, who is trying to make amends for years of indifference, the Earl who has begun to rain his attentions on her in a rather militant but effective manner, and the house staff, who clearly are keeping secrets from their lady and would prefer she left Rose Cottage.
Just when one thinks there may be a break for Audrey, truths air that may change her change her mind and heart forever, because how many times can a woman be hurt before she shuts her heart away? I thoroughly enjoyed reading Surrender To The Earl by Gayle Callen. I found Audrey's story to be compelling. Robert Henslow, once a cocky man believing all was for him, returns from war a changed man. A patient, and understanding man that would be a good husband only if Audrey only would open her heart. I liked how this Gayle Callen told both Audrey's and Robert's stories so well that I really got a feel for them. Robert's determination to break down Audrey's wall was so commendable that I actually wanted him for myself. Surrender To The Earl is the first of Gayle Callen's books that I have read and I find myself downloading more at this very moment!
4 Stars (Brilliant)