Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages
have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to
combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father's coal mines with
Alexander Osgood's prospering Northern country textile mills. Though
not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an
eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so
Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander's
However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.
Sensing his wife's unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn't bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle's opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.
Most of the romance books I read follow the journey of two people getting to know each other, falling in love and then getting married. This book does it all backwards. It starts out with Isabelle and Alexander's arranged marriage, then leads us through the development of their relationship. I'm going to be honest, Isabelle seems to be made of much stronger stuff than I am. Many of the things she dealt with would cause me to shut down, walk away or just give up. (I mean, if I actually was in that situation, I hope I would be as strong as she was. But my initial reaction would be to do all of the above listed things.) I really appreciated her perseverance in fighting for their relationship. I was caught up in this story right away and had a hard time putting it down. Definitely a winner.
I’m a sucker for Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line, so I jumped at the chance to read this newest addition, I’ve read several books by the author before (but not under this pen name). This genre is new for her (as far as I know), and I thought she did a nice job.
This was a “stay up way too late reading” kind of book for me. I felt so bad for Isabelle, but admired her determination to make the best of a situation that had many challenges. I liked Alexander too, but it did take awhile to get to that point with him being so closed off at the beginning.
I can see myself reading this again and look forward to more in this genre from the author.
About the Author:
Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel.
High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.