|Original Pub. Date:||Sept. 1, 1995|
|Re-Release Date:||June 28, 2016|
Man, this is a second chance romance in the extreme! I am glad some of these older historical romances are being re-released. Many of the historicals from the 80s and 90s are so much more dramatic from what we are seeing today. Stormswept was no exception.
Rhys Vaughn is the son of a Welsh squire whom killed himself in disgrace after losing his family estate in a card game to an Englishman. Rhys has vowed to regain his inheritance, all the while consorting with Welsh radicals seeking to free their land from English interlopers. A wrench is thrown into his plan when he meets the beautiful and guileless Lady Juliana St. Albans. Juliana has a childlike curiosity and thirst for knowledge, and she is enthralled by Rhys from the moment she hears him speak. The couple quickly fall in love and sneak away to marry... but Rhys disappears shortly after their wedding leaving Juliana confused, bereft and at the mercy of her family. I was glad that we got this early part of the story where the relationship was initially built between Rhys and Juliana. I got caught up in the innocent romance between our couple, so I was able to feel the full range of emotions brought on by the strife and discord in the rest of the story.
When Rhys returns six years later on the eve of Julian's betrothal to another man, he has vengeance on his mind. Vengeance against the brothers behind his disappearance, and vengeance against the wife who betrayed him. Juliana, of course, is shocked to learn that her husband is alive, and has no idea what he's spouting off about. What followed was a tumultuous relationship between a man who could not trust and a woman loving and hurting at the same time. I really had a hard time deciding who to support in this story. I felt so bad for what happened to Rhys - he was made to endure horrible things, all the while believing it was his beloved wife who betrayed him. But the more that Rhys refused to believe Juliana, my allegiance started to shift to her corner. In the end, I was cheering for their relationship and hoping they would work everything out. The pair clearly had deep emotions for one another, and those that we care about most can also hurt us the worst. This romance definitely ran the gambit of emotions - love, lust, betrayal, forgiveness and bonding, to name a few.
This story is quite different from Sabrina Jeffries' current works... it has that darker feel that was popular 15-20 years ago. Like I said above, I am glad some of these are being re-released of late. There aren't as many historical romance authors adding that dark tone to their stories, so I like the variety of adding these throwback reads into the mix. I am looking forward to the re-release of Windswept in Feb. 2017.
I received an copy of this book at no cost from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.