THE LETTER is the story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore apart two lovers for eleven years.
On the eve of their wedding, Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed— the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed—in bed with his cousin, Leo. Diana remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is that she was forced to marry Leo and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, Michael and Diana must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses the one of their youth.To start off, this was a sad but very enjoyable read. It deals with domestic violence and spousal abuse to the extreme, going so far as to disfigure a person. The book begins with a letter written just before the death of Diana's husband who sends it to her former love. It is a harrowing account of how he cheated both of them of love, companionship, and for her, safety and comfort, for the last decade.
Only after Michael tracks her down and eases information out of her does he get a clue as to the extent of the abuse she has suffered under her husband. And the abuse is devastating. Leo's sole purpose in life was to ruin Diana for any other man and he does it in gruesome detail and scars her for life. Not only does Michael need to come to terms with the details of what she has gone through, but Diana must learn to fully trust again, and let another person love her for who she is and what her physical body looks like, disfigurements and all. Added to that is Michael's guilt knowing everything that has happened to her was because of a cousin's hatred for him, a deep jealously built up over a lifetime.
An enjoyable read, even with all the dark parts. When the two lovers meet again they are noticeably guarded. Michael and Diana work their way backward to a place where they once were, when they trusted fully each other and gave to each other unreservedly. It is a long battle for both, but the best love stories are when true love reigns again.
Here's an excerpt of the book:
He glanced at Diana and raised his brow in amusement. Bless the gods, she rewarded him with the first true smile he had seen on her face since he found her again. His heart took a little bounce, something that hadn't happened in eleven years. Her hand was warm in his. On impulse, he lifted it to his lips and placed a kiss on the back of her wrist.
“Why did you do that?” She tried to pull away.
He shrugged, but refused to let go of her. “It was a whim, nothing more.”
“Well, don't do it again.”
Deviltry took control of him. “What? This?” He did it again.
When he did it once more, she surprised him with a giggle she tried to smother. He knew this because she choked on the effort. Inspired, he repeated his little performance. “Stop it!”
“Not until you say the magic words.” He brought her hand to his lips.
“Then tell me what they are so I can say them.”
He inclined his head and peered into her eyes. “Please, Michael.” The very words she had whispered to him in the heat of passion. Did she remember?
She jerked her gaze away from his. “Please, Michael,” she whispered.
Ah, so she did, but why did it matter? It shouldn't. His future plans did not include her. He laughed away his uneasiness and began his own bragging of the size of the fish he would catch.
After spending time showing Jamie how to use the fishing rod, Michael turned him over to Obadiah's capable supervision. The old man and boy left hand-in-hand to go further downstream to a secret place where Obadiah promised the biggest trout were.
It took considerable effort, but Michael convinced Diana to give it a try. He stood behind her with his arms around her, being careful not to press against her back. With his hands covering hers, he showed her how to cast the rod. When he drew her arm up to throw, she backed against him and he grew hard, instantly responding to the feel of her soft bottom pressed against him.
He took a quick step away and hoped he had done so before she realized what was happening. She didn't give any sign of noticing and seemed to be intent on her task of casting the line. The trout fly hit the water very close to the spot he told her to aim for.
“Well done,” he said.
She looked at him over her shoulder and gave him her second true smile of the day. Another bounce of his heart. He might be willing to walk over hot coals to keep that smile on her face.
The very devil.
Sandra lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Most days, you can find her with her fingers on a keyboard, her mind in the world of her imagination. It's a land where romance and happy endings exist, a land where anything is possible. When her husband can drag her away from her computer, she likes to travel with her very own hero in their RV, but she always brings her laptop. There are still stories to write, after all.
A few highlights of Sandra's life: she fondly recalls are jumping out of a plane, flying upside down in a stunt plane, and riding her Harley in the mountains of Southern California and along the coast of Maine. She's managed a private airport and held the position of General Manager of a Harley-Davidson dealership. Although those events in her life were great fun, nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction she gets from writing her stories.
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This book was part of a book tour presented by ABG Reads Book Tours.
- The Letter by Sandra Owens
- The Wild Rose Press; English Tea Rose edition; 2013
- ISBN: 1612178561
Disclosure: This book was presented by the author and any opinions are my own.