by Wendy Burge

February 2003
ISBN: 0-821-77450-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

While You Slept is the perfect example of why judging a book by it’s cover (or back page) is often a bad idea. If I had encountered this book on the overstuffed shelves of a bookstore, I probably would have picked it up, read the back, and decided to wait until it appeared on the shelves of my favorite used bookstore. This decision would have been based on my unfamiliarity with the author, and the fact that my TBR pile is a small mountain. What a mistake that would have been!

The novel is an evocative look at second chances, and the strength that love can give to a wounded heart. Sion Sinclair, the Marquis of Dereham, is a reclusive nobleman, drowning in a sea of alcohol, unable to recover from the deaths of his beloved wife and unborn son, completely submerged in guilt and remorse. Katherine Camden-Carey is the abused daughter of a madman, and wife to a profligate rake who does not hide his disgust for his larger-than-fashionable spouse.

A carriage accident leaves Katherine comatose and near death, rescued by the Marquis’ staff and in an empty chamber on his estate. The events that follow her through her recovery and return to society are unusual and thought-provoking. Fate has a strong hand in arousing the drunken lord’s interest and in his struggles to return to a normal life. Clearly these two souls need each other.

There is a complex plot that enhances the well-drawn characters with deep emotions. This reader is not ashamed to admit that a few tears were shed during the reading of this book. The secondary cast is not given short-shrift, but also crafted into active participants, not mere bystanders. In all, a most satisfying novel, and an author that is immediately going on my auto-buy list!

Reviewed in February 2003 by Paula.

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