Thursday, September 26, 2013

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant - and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the "D of J" in scandal sheets. But sometimes the most womanizing rakehell can be irresistible, and even his most causal attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms.

Then one fateful day she receives the shocking news - the duke is lost to the world. And Maddy knows it is her destiny to help him and her only chance to find the true man behind the wicked facade.

But she never dreamed her gentle, healing touch would alter his life and her own so completely - and bind them together in need, desire...and love.

I'm going to start with a warning - this is probably the worse review I've ever written because of how deeply, how emotionally I connected with the hero. My review is a cheesy, rambling, hot mess, so read at your own risk.

With any book I read, I hope to connect with the hero and heroine, to feel what it is the author is trying to convey. Well, I didn’t have to try hard at all with this story, and no matter how many times I’ve attempted to write this review, I find myself in tears. And, as odd as it might sound, I find that I’m very protective of Christian, worried about revealing too much of his story. And wow, when I say that out loud, I realize how strange it sounds. 

So how does one review a book like this, one that hits so close to home that it literally could be your own story? The words I’d use to describe Flowers from the Storm are amazing, incredible, and heartwarming, compelling, complex, gut wrenching, joyous, painful, comforting… such contrasting words and emotions that it would take pages and pages to explain why it all means so much to me and frankly, I just don’t have that in me when it comes to this story. Part of what makes this story so hard for me to write about is that I’m married to a Maddy, the heroine of this book, my husband being a man who uses God as the ruler by which everyone is measured, and no one, especially not me, measures up. In this way I have a connection to Christian unlike any other fictional hero I can think of and found myself often in tears, not only for him, but for myself. 

As with all books, anyone reading Flowers from the Storm will bring to it, and take from it, different things. In addition to living with a religious… enthusiast, for lack of a better word, I have this fear of something happening to me that will leave me unable to communicate with those around me. I fear being mentally whole, being able to think and understand the things going on, but unable to express myself, to let people know that I’m… here.

We learn early on in the story that Christian suffers a stroke of sorts and becomes unable to communicate. His mother believes that this was a punishment from God in judgment of Christian’s immoral behavior. I’ve also dealt with judgments against myself of a similar nature and so, for me, as I read this paragraph, and understanding Christian’s state of being, both physical and mental at the time he thought these words, this quote truly hit home.

He didn’t reckon that God owed him anything. He reckoned that he’d had it all, and wasted it. Burning lakes and howling fiends had just never seemed that convincing, perils hardly fit to frighten naughty children.

He turned over, staring up at the darkness.

Damned… having found out now what hell was really like.
Well, as you can see, I can’t seem to write a coherent review of Flowers from the Storm, and trust me, I’ve spent months trying. And as silly as it might sound, I’ve been afraid to write this review, because if you’ve read the book and didn’t like it, or if you believe as Christian’s mother and Maddy did, that he was deserving of the “punishment” God set upon him, then you believe those things about me, too, because this book is my life. But, fortunately for Christian and Maddy, they got their happily ever after. So, rather than write anymore and try to explain it all, I’ll just continue to watch over Christian and keep him close to my heart.

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