Silent Melody by Mary Balogh
Publication Date: August 4th 2015
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Lady Emily Marlowe is beautiful, independent, and unspoiled. Deaf since childhood, she appreciates her family’s efforts to nurture her spirit, but the man they’ve chosen for her betrothal can never fulfill her. The only one Emily has ever desired is bold and reckless Lord Ashley Kendrick. Her childhood amour inspired her fantasies and vowed never to forget her—even as he left her for a new life in India and a new love.
Seven years and countless dreams later, Ashley has returned a desolate widower to Bowden Abbey and, true to his promise, to Emily. Yet his heedless proposal of marriage has left her unexpectedly conflicted. Though the heat of passion still burns, Emily fears that it’s only a sense of duty—not love—that has brought him to bended knee. And what is she to make of those seven lost years clouded in secrets too dark for Ashley to share?
For Emily, her greatest and only love now becomes one worth fighting for, one of startling revelations and second chances, and one, like a melody, too beautiful for words....
Emily came to live with her sister when she was 14 years old. She followed her brother-in-law’s brother around and he was her best friend. Ashley, however, is going to make his fortune in India and takes off for 7 years. Emily is heartbroken but as she’s only 15 by that time she knows that nothing could have come of the relationship at the time he left.
Emily takes blows to her heart when she finds out that Ashley has married and then when he has a son. She has decided that it’s time to move on with her life. She wants children and a husband and a household and she knows that putting herself out there is the only way that will happen. She allows her brother-in-law to vet men for her and she one in particular courts her with purpose. Apparently he doesn’t care that she is a deaf mute but the man does like to talk. Emily enjoys him but only catches about half of what he says with her lip reading as he talks so much and so fast. She’s exhausted after their conversations.
Emily is at a country ball at her brother-in-law’s house when Ashley returns. He is immediately smitten with Emily but he is burdened with heavy emotion. Emily can tell this and tries to comfort him but things go too far. Emily is then left with no wedding and no hope of ever having one as she refuses to marry Ashley just because he took her virginity. She wants him to love her as she loves him. She was willing to settle without love if she married someone other than Ashley but if it’s to be him then she needs his love. Ashley needs to work through his grief and come to terms with his feelings for Emily and decide exactly what those are but first he has to save Emily from someone who is trying to do her harm.
I have to say that I love books that have a deaf hero or heroine, especially historical romances. The troubles they have with communication just catch my interest and doesn’t let go. This book was no different. It was wonderful to see that Emily could read lips, but she spoke in so many different ways – with her body, with her painting, with her eyes. I really loved how Mary Balogh portrayed Emily and while her lack of hearing and speech was a definite impediment it didn’t stop her from doing what she wanted to do or even getting across to people what she wanted to say.
Ashely was a bit of a wreck, I must say. He was grieving over the death of his wife and child but as he didn’t get along with his wife he had guilt about those feelings as well. It was a mess but I enjoyed the way that Ashley finally got his head on straight and recognized what he had in front of him, Emily, and what she was worth – everything. It took him a while, and I feared his wouldn’t ever see it but he finally did and I got my HEA.
If you enjoy books like this then I highly recommend it. The writing was beautiful, the story was engaging and the romance definitely worth reading.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
(This book was originally released in 1997 but was reprinted and re-released on August 4, 2015.)