(c) 2009, Bantam Books, Random House
338 pages, Mass-Market Edition
Bryony Asquith left her tumultous marriage behind and went to India, not expecting that one day, her ex-husband Leo Marsden would come after her. Leo, whose smile had felled her. Leo, who broke her heart before they could say their vows. Leo, whom she still loved.
The short review: I laughed and cried as I read this book. And cried again. Definitely a keeper!
The long review:
Where to start?
I have to gush about Leo. He's a totally to-die-for hero. I think his most endearing quality is that he has loved Bryony since his youth, and even after the terrible things Bryony has done to him, he still continued to love her, protect her and stayed faithful to her. Throughout the book, we can see Leo taking care of her, making sure she's comfortable, that she's not hungry, etc. And I like that he decided to trust Bryony in the end--trust her regarding their future. This is a powerful story of how love makes us a better person.
I especially love the last paragraph of the book. Read it and I dare you not to get tears in your eyes.
Bryony comes across as prickly and antagonistic toward Leo, at least in the beginning, but she has reason. Good reason, though I don't know why she couldn't have confronted Leo with the truth in the first place. Maybe because of the shame she felt, the shame which shut her mouth. Others may this decry this as The Big Miscommunication issue that could've been resolved easily enough, but I feel that the author carried this off well enough due to the emotions that the character was feeling. Moreover, even if Bryony and Leo had talked about this during the first few months of their marriage, the problem might still have existed, because as Leo said (not exact words), there is something about war that distills everything into the essential: that only love matters, in the end.
When one is near death, or close to, because in war, one never knows, one then realizes the things that are truly important.
Though most of the book happened in war-torn India, the author's vivid descriptions made this exotic setting come alive. However, most of the descriptions of the different tribes and the animosity between and among them went right over my head because, to be honest, I truly don't have any idea what these tribes are and I also couldn't be bothered to go look for a map while I'm the grip of the story. Except for Swat Valley, of course.
Sherry Thomas is simply amazing with this book, combining a vivid description of the setting with a sweet, powerful story of love that touches the heart. Highly recommended.
Book Rating: 5.0