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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cherished by Beth Heywood

Cherished by Beth Heywood
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Books
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Inspirational
Length: Full (195 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Orchid

Widow Adelaide Rawtenstall and her infant son are fleeing for their lives from her father-in-law, James Rawtenstall, whose long arm of influence stretches across the rivers and hills of northern England. Adelaide takes the only course of salvation open to her – she enlists as a mail-order bride, bound for Damnation Island, a remote and lonely outpost in the inhospitable South Atlantic Ocean.

Torn between two lovers, Adelaide must make a devastating choice between a once-in-a-lifetime overwhelming, shattering love, and a man of profound kindness and formidable compassion who has offered sanctuary for her and her unborn child, and whom she has also grown to love.

Where does her loyalty lie? And can she live with the consequences of such a devastating decision?

Adelaide Rawtenstall takes her baby and flees to a remote island in the South Atlantic. Her father-in-law is threatening to take her baby from her and the only solution to her problem is to become a mail order bride on Damnation Island.

Luke Collins has been blackmailed into bringing Adelaide back to Lancashire. As he gets to know her he realizes he has been lied to. This woman is not the evil creature with loose morals he has been told about. She is a kind, gentle woman who loves her baby and has a strict code of ethics.

The sea journey to Damnation Island throws them together and Adelaide feels herself drawn to Luke. She is tempted to have a last fling before reaching the island and her unknown proxy husband but her conscience sways first one way then the other.

Luke wants Adelaide to return to England with him but she is scared of her late husband's family. She cannot forgive Luke for his deception about the real reason he is on the ship and means to keep her pledge as a proxy bride to an unknown man. The mail order brides have one year to acclimatize before they choose to either go through with the real marriage or return to England. Luke vows to return for Adelaide before the marriage ceremony takes place.

Adelaide lands on Damnation Island and finds her husband John is the oldest of the grooms but he is kind and gentle. She is torn between her longing for Luke and her need to be honest with John.

I like this story. It has action, adventure and tenderness. Adelaide is firstly a mother who will do anything to protect her son. She takes the extreme step of becoming a mail order bride to a place at the back of beyond. While afraid she and her baby might be in danger of separation, she finds the real danger is her own feelings for a man who is not who he seems to be.

The tenderness between Adelaide and Luke and Adelaide and John is beautifully portrayed. The underlying danger of discovery and return to England brings tension to the story, as does the rumbling volcano which threatens the safety of all. Poor Adelaide. Should she do what she longs to do or what her conscience tells her is the right thing to do. All readers will understand this dilemma as it is reminiscent of a lot of relationships. The only reason I didn't give this top marks is because there was the occasional tendency for the author to lapse into purple prose. Not much, but it was there.

Well edited. Well written. Definitely a story to read if you like "true to life" romance with the added plus of a tropical location.