Cheryl St John is a great writer, this book moves slow in a couple of spots but has some great scenes where the girl is trapped in a situation she has difficulty getting out of and then there is a twist at the end where a black mailer adds to unjust accusations.
Very entertaining, touching love story.......it succeeded my expectations!!
Sarah Thornton wanted to shout, but revealing her true identity could only bring disaster on herself and her infant son. Still, sorrowful circumstances had turned a mistake into a miracle. She suddenly had a home, a family -- and Nicholas Halliday, a man as dangerous to her as he was desirable...!
His newly widowed sister-in-law wore mystery as elegantly as an evening wrap, rousing more than suspicions in Nicholas Halliday -- for this beautiful stranger had a claim not only to the family fortune, but also to his heart and soul...!
Cheryl St. John did a great job with this plot. It is hard to balance a sense of guilt with keeping a plot going and I think the author did a fine job of it.
Educated and refined Sarah Thorton has made a monumental mistake. When her father finds out, he summarily tosses Sarah from the house and his life. Leaving her safe, privileged life behind, Sarah heads west on a train. When Sarah realizes she has been robbed, a pair of newlyweds, Stephen and Claire Halliday take her into their berth.
During the night, there is a terrible train accident. Sarah wakes up in a hospital with a newborn, a broken leg and other injuries. The hospital staff calls her Mrs. Halliday. Aching and somewhat confused, Sarah decides to set the record straight after some rest.
However, she is soon accosted by Stephen's brooding and grieving brother, Nicholas. It is obvious that Nicholas has himself in rigid control of his emotions. Sarah decides that it would be easier to tell her story to Stephen's mother. Mrs. Halliday, however, is even more emotionally bereft than her son.
Sarah decides to recover from her injuries and give the Halliday's time to grieve before she admits her true identity. Although Nicholas seems to be testing her at every turn, Mrs. Halliday begins to lean on Sarah heavily.
Nicholas is a complex person; when his father died, he gave up his university career and returned home to lead his father's dream. He always thought that Stephen would return from his education and share the burden; but Stephen drifted through school and made a name for himself as a playwright. When he received telegrams/letters from his brother about his return (with his wife), Nicholas thought that Stephen was coming back to share the work. He was devastated when he received the telegram of his brother's death -- and the news that Nicholas had his burden increased by two new people.
Thus, Nicholas takes his bitterness and anger out on Sarah. Before long, Sarah realizes that Nicholas had Claire (Stephen's real wife) investigated. He keeps trying to show Claire's seamier side but Sarah adroitly does all Nicholas asks with grace, dignity and charm. Nicholas is horrified to find that he is attracted to his sister-in-law. We find out that Nicholas gave up his plans for marriage when his father died because he needed all his energy to grow into his father's role.
I was not upset by Sarah's regular internal discussion of her guilt; the author was showing that Sarah was an honest person placed in impossible circumstances. I thought this was an incredibly well-written novel. 4.5 stars
FROM THE CRITICS
Coldly rejected as a family embarrassment by her arrogant Bostonian father, Sarah Thornton heads west to make a new life for herself and her expected child, only to have her world turned upside down when a stranger's kindness and a chance train wreck provide her with a new identity, a new reason to live--and a new burden of guilt. The sexual tension simmers relentlessly between the conflicted heroine and the rigid but redeemable hero; and although a lack of trust leads to frustrating misunderstandings and a too conveniently greedy villainess detracts from the story, the many well-drawn characters--including an appallingly bawdy, drunken mother--and the heroine's inherent kindness and sense of honor will please readers who like their romances gently paced. St. John (The Truth About Toby, Silhouette, 1997) laces this romances with sweet Americana touches.
Sarah Thorton wanted to shout, but revealing her true identity could only bring disaster on herself and her infant son. Still, sorrowful circumstance had turned a mistake into a miracle. She suddenly had a home, a family and Nicholas Halliday, a man as dangerous to her as he was desirable.