- Avon Books
- Release Date
- August 2004
Gabriel Fairchild's valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, the man who once walked like a prince among London's elite secludes himself in his family's mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.
Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn't possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel's life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets - and some pleasures - are best explored in the dark ...
Sep 03, 2011 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
215 people found the following review helpful
I first read YOURS UNTIL DAWN by Teresa Medeiros several years ago and it has remained one of my all time favourite historical romances. Warm, funny, heartrending, tender and sensual, re-reading it is one of my guilty pleasures.
Gabriel Fairchild, Earl of Sheffield, is determined to show his fiancée that he has forsaken his rakish ways and is worthy of her love. To prove himself, Gabriel joins the Royal Navy but at the Battle of Trafalgar, he is wounded, leaving him facially scarred and blind. Deserted by his fiancée and an embarrassment to his family, he hides himself away at Fairchild Park, a bitter and angry man.
He succeeds in scaring away all of the previous nurses hired by his father but the latest applicant, the prim and proper Miss Samantha Wickersham, is determined to help Gabriel come to terms with his blindness. So begins a battle of wills because Gabriel is equally determined to be rid of this ‘tart, vinegary creature'. Through sheer stubbornness and dedication, Samantha proves to Gabriel that, despite his blindness, life is still worth living. Although unable to see her face, Gabriel finds himself drawn to Samantha's inner beauty while Samantha falls for the tender and charming man beneath the belligerent exterior.
Following a dramatic incident in which they almost die, Samantha and Gabriel finally admit their love for each other and share a passionate night together. But when Gabriel's sight starts returning, Samantha secretly leaves, knowing that she cannot be part of his new life. Gabriel is devastated but determined to move heaven and earth to find the woman who has captured his heart!
Gabriel definitely fulfills my penchant for tormented, brooding heroes. He is a man without hope living in a dark and lonely world where the trappings of civilized behaviour no longer matter. He hides his vulnerability behind a show of arrogance and biting retorts such as his reply when Samantha tells him she's there to help him adjust to his new circumstances:
"What if I don't want to adjust? What if I just want to be left the bloody hell alone so I can rot in peace."
Ms Medeiros provides a real insight into the problems of being blind, things which I had never appreciated before. When Gabriel suddenly wakes up, he has no way of knowing whether it is day or night and when Samantha takes him to task for not using a knife and fork, he explains that they are difficult to manage because if he can't feel the food, he can't find it. All things a sighted person takes for granted.
The battle of wills between Samantha and Gabriel provides for some sharp and really funny dialogue. Here are a couple of my favorites:
"Good morning, my lord," Samantha said smoothly, sliding into a chair well out of his reach. "You'll have to forgive Mr. Beckwith. He obviously had some pressing duties."
Scowling, Gabriel settled back in his chair, "Let's hope they include forging some letters of reference and packing his bags. Then the two of you can return to London together."
"So tell me Miss Wickersham, as my new nurse, which duty would you like to assume first? Would you like to feed me?"
Eyeing the wolfish white flash of teeth as they tore another hunk of meat off the chop, Samantha said, "Given your...um...unbridled enthusiasm for your victuals, I'd be a little worried about getting my fingers that close to your mouth."
I love Samantha because she is just what Gabriel needs to jolt him out of his apathy. At first, Beckwith, Mrs Philpot and the other servants refuse to disobey their master's orders but Samantha has no such qualms. She re-arranges the furniture to make it easier for Gabriel to navigate through the house and throws open the windows. She only falters once when Gabriel comes up with another scheme to rid himself of her by constantly ringing a bell day and night and having her do all sorts of mundane things such as fluffing his pillow. I love Gabriel's reaction when she finally says she's had enough of his ridiculous demands and is resigning:
"Miss Wickersham, get back here this instant! That's an order!"
" I quit," she tossed back over her shoulder, savage glee coursing through her veins. "I'm not obliged to take your orders anymore!" Ignoring his spluttering, Samantha marched out the door slamming it behind her with grim satisfaction.
I like the way Ms Medeiros slowly develops the relationship between Samantha and Gabriel which makes it more realistic. My favourite scene is the one in the ballroom because it is both romantic and sensual. I could really feel the passion between them:
Suddenly she was the beggar at the feast – a feast of the senses her body had been denied for so long. She wanted to gorge herself on him, sate her every craving with the fulsome delight of his kiss.
Ms Medeiros paints such memorable and vivid pictures but it is the little details which seem to linger in my mind: Beckwith and Mrs Philpot trying to push Samantha out of the French windows before the approaching Gabriel enters the room; Gabriel's indelicate table manners; Samantha running a fingertip along the scar on Gabriel's face; Gabriel lounging in bed wearing only a rumpled cravat; the game of blind man's bluff; the ultimate in romantic epilogues.
The secondary characters all add depth to the story and I have to mention Sam, the little terrier, who captured my heart with his antics. This book has a really surprise twist which I certainly didn't see coming when I first read it. On subsequent readings, I found clues were there but I had simply been too engrossed in the story to interpret them correctly.
A wonderful love story with unforgettable characters, YOURS UNTIL DAWN is pure magic; a treat that no lover of historical romance should miss!
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