Fighting Napoleon, Ralph Stockwood suffered devastating loss and now feels dead inside, but as the sole heir to a dukedom, he needs a wife; when a family friend suggests they marry, she seems as good a choice as any, since love is off the table.
When Ralph Stockwood went to war with his three best friends, he was an idealistic 18-year-old, but watching them all fall in battle and nearly dying himself has left him a shadow of the vibrant, charismatic young man he was. However, his grandfather, a duke, is fading, and his grandmother has summoned Ralph to their country estate to express how imperative it is that he marry. While there, Ralph meets Chloe Muirhead, who has sought sanctuary with his grandmother, her mother’s godmother, after a couple of disastrous seasons have left her practically ineligible in the eyes of the ton. After overhearing a conversation between Ralph and his grandmother on the urgency of marriage, Chloe approaches him with the idea that they marry. Since she has no desire to be in society, and he seems content in the country, they strike a bargain to wed quickly and stay at the estate, but immediately after the ceremony, Ralph and Chloe must bear unexpected responsibilities and travel to London, where they confront unpleasant gossip and drama due to Chloe’s family’s past scandal. Ralph is continually disconcerted by his new wife’s efficient capability and brave resolve, and he discovers his frozen emotions might be thawing beneath her warm demeanor and sunny competence. Always at the edge of Ralph’s consciousness is his own war-wrought trauma, which he’s tried to bury but might just be able to face with Chloe by his side. Balogh continues her popular Survivor’s Club series with a tender story of two strangers who agree to a loveless marriage yet develop a grand passion as they navigate turmoil together.
An elegant, romantic exploration of the trauma of war and the healing power of love.