Gabriel Fairchild became a hero in the Napoleonic wars, but was injured and lost his sight. The pity he was treated with, not only by his family and fellow soldiers, but his fianceé as well, sent him away from polite society into his family's mansion, where he stalks through the darkness that enfolds him, cursing the loss of sight that made him, in his own eyes and those of society, less than a man.
Gabriel has had many nurses to take care of him in his condition, but he has driven them all away by acting the part of a beast. He only wants to be left alone in his own version of Hell, until a young woman comes, named Samantha Wickersham, to nurse him. She is not driven off by Gabriel's behavior, and manages to actually persuade him to come out of his shell by engaging him in a battle of wits and will.
Gabriel, unable to drive her away, becomes intrigued by what could make a young woman so determined to take him on. Soon, his beastly behavior towards her causes him regret when he finds himself adjusting to his lack of sight and beginning to live, instead of merely existing. He finds himself starting to care for Samantha deeply, and believing that he could find life anew... with her.
Samantha, meanwhile, finds herself beginning to care very deeply for Gabriel, and as his cruel, selfish behavior mellows into the man he used to be, he begins a determined assault on her heart that she finds herself unable to resist. But when his family returns and begins to treat him as crippled once more, she defends him to them, irritating his mother past all reason, which makes her dislike Samantha.
But an accident that night sets off both Gabriel and Samantha's becoming lovers, and the slow process of regaining his sight. Shortly after he discovers his sight returning, Samantha vanishes from the manor house, leaving Gabriel stunned and disbelieving. Now he has lost a woman he loved deeply twice, once when he lost his sight, and once when he regained it.
A fruitless search for Samantha reveals that no such woman actually existed. So, who could she have been, and why go through such an elaborate charade just to help him out?
Samantha and Gabriel must find each other under her real name, when all secrets will be made clear and true love will triumph? But can it survive the cost of deception?
I really loved this book, as the fact of who Samantha actually is was concealed by the author for 2/3 of the book. Although it's hard for the reader to forgive Samantha for her deceit, when the reason why she ran is revealed, it is heartwarming and causes you to immediately forgive her, as it merely reveals what kind of a person she actually is.
This is a wonderful, heartwarming book that will leave you with a fond smile on your face and cheering the two characters. A most highly recommended book.