-------SPOILERS: Don't read if you don't want to know specifics------
Alexander’s writing failed to move me. It lacked the intense emotional tone to fit the very angtsy premise of the romance--Hero & heroine’s teen romance to be severed due to being forced to marry a man blackmailing her father, Hero believing her father’s lies about heroine wanting to marry someone else & not fighting for her, & for heroine’s letters pleading Hero for help to be unread by him until 10 years later when her father confessed the truth to him. Really heartbreaking stuff. But it didn’t even move me as it easily should’ve because the writing was distancing. I was reading the angst but not feeling it. There was also repeated talk of Hero needing to grovel for the omissions & wrongs he’s done to heroine. He did make amends but in practical ways (i.e., helping fund the expeditions to find the 3 things her late husband’s will demanded, not pushing her to forgive him/being his friend as she desired, doing his best to get her the 3 artifacts, loosening up from his stodgy & dull earl ways & becoming again more like the man she fell in love with 10 yrs ago). I like drama & like to feel the angst when it is present but his groveling was not dramatic. It was all very mature, poised, & practical. I wish Alexander milked the angst for all…or even half…it was worth.
I liked how Hero & especially heroine changed in their 10 years apart. Heroine became a very strong & independent person inside. She survived 10 years of being abused & controlled by her possessive husband. She escaped by reading about places she’d like to visit & making a list of things she’d like to do. In a way, the lack of felt angst could be explained by heroine’s control of her emotions & inner strength since much of the book was through her point-of-view. But it diminished the impact of her emotional journey & only gave us the part of heroine that was strong & compartmentalized. I like some emotional mess & vulnerability when reading about my romance characters. It makes for a more moving read.