Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms.
My Thoughts: While having the sense of being overly long, The Escape ended up being a lovely romance between two fascinating characters.
What I Liked: The meeting of the hero and heroine really set the feeling of the book. That first contact can make or break a book and I really thought it set the stage. It showed that Samantha's character would not be some simpering milquetoast victim and it also showed Ben to be more than a handicapped man.
As a matter of fact I really enjoyed the entire first half of the book. The first part had conflict and a bit of humor, a nasty piece of work called a sister-in-law and a really ugly dog. It also had the building of a fabulous friendship. Some might not enjoy Friends to Lovers themes but I really adore them. I love to see exactly why a couple falls in love without relying on an author to say "Poof...they're in love." I also very much enjoyed the time when our hero and heroine "escaped" to Wales. Historical romances are chock full of London settings but I've never read one set in Wales!
What I Didn't Like: Unfortunately, once they got to Wales the book seemed to take a different tone. Yes Ben and Samantha continued their friendship and even moved to the next step into being lovers but the humor and the conflict seemed to be missing from the story. As a matter of fact the only conflict was my feelings towards the double standards the heroine had about her long lost relatives. She was quick too forgive a great aunt who she never met but held a grudge against her grandfather for doing almost the same thing.
In addition to the lack of humor the last half of the book adds virtually nothing to help push the story forward. Despite the characters moving into lovers situation I just couldn't see much passion. The sex scenes were quite uninspiring. As for the ending I think it could have been done better. All the dangly parts were wrapped up but not to my satisfaction. It felt just too fairytale ending-ish.
Because I'm a little nit-picky there were a couple things that grated on my nerves but probably won't bother most people. The cover is just a terrible representation of Ben and Samantha. Sure that might be Samantha....maybe.... but that is in no way Ben on the cover. Mary Balogh has no control over her covers, I'm sure, but COME ON! Benedict can barely walk. He cannot stand without the assistance of his 2 canes/crutches. One more thing is that the author has habit of repeating herself (as in a character would reflect upon a piece of dialogue that was just spoken where we readers would then read the dialogue over again but in italicized print just in case we wouldn't get it)...
In a Nut Shell: Despite all the negative things this book was really quite lovely. I know, now I'm being contradictory. It ended up a pretty average read but Balogh did a wonderful job of showing our H/h falling in love. Their romance was a delight to read. No insta-love at all and their conversations were well done. The setting was interesting also as was the fact that our heroine was a recent widow and our hero could barely walk due to an injury to both of his legs. This is my first book in this series but I thought it was able to standalone but will go back and read the other 2 books in the series.
(I received an eARC courtesy of the published via NetGalley for an honest review)