September 19, 2013

Braine Reviews: Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meredith Allard

Series: Loving Husband 1
Format: Print 
Source: Author for review
Publisher: Copperfield Press 
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Some Historical
James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties with anyone. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth’s death, James cannot move on.

Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?

Part historical fiction, part romance, part paranormal fantasy, Her Dear and Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.
I'm a believer of reincarnation and I always wanted to do a regression session out of curiosity. See who who, what and how I was in a previous life. I guess the most fascinating part about that for me is the concept of soulmatesI mean isn't that so romantic? You and your true love surviving several rebirths and finding each other again and again? Sigh! I'm a hopeless romantic which is why I steer clear of straight up romance novels as much as I can, I get ideas in my head that's a tad unhealthy LOL.

Anyway, soulmates and reincarnation is the theme of Meredith Allard's HER DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND with a twist if paranormal and witchcraft to make things interesting. Sophia is a new divorcee who moved to Salem to start a new life. She's been having too vivid dreams and nightmares and moving to Salem, Massachusetts intensified that. A certain man and house in particular is awakening something in Sophia that she can't quite explain. James Wentworth is too familiar and comfortable to be around with and it's got her all shook up. James has secrets of his own, as for now he knows Sarah is his and he won't let her go. All he needs to do is make her realize this and accept it as fact.

HER DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND is more romance and less paranormal. The pace and writing is that of Literature & Fiction along the lines of Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy. So you won't find heart pounding action here you will instead find courtship, interesting flashbacks on the Salem Witch Trials and Sarah rediscovering herself.

Now I found Sarah is too even and calm for someone who's going through a lot of things in her life. She's doing her own version of Eat, Pray & Love in Salem and the difference is her experience isn't very calming. The irony for me is Sarah's so adjusted I didn't really feel a lot of skepticism from her. Dealing with her nightmares for the longest time and finally knowing the reasons for it, true or false, is still overwhelming and I expected questions and even mild resistance from her. I guess Sarah's more adept to change than I am.
That was the moment when James learned about another kind of madness, the kind you feel when you've been unwilling to tell the woman you love your truth and then you lose her to someone else's waiting arms.
James Wentworth on the other hand is so Geek chic! He's a literature/humanities professor and reminded me a lot of Matthew Clairmont (All Souls Trilogy). Dashing, debonaire, smart and a gentleman through and through. I love how old school he is and he really courted Sarah. Walks her home, offers his arm, very polite and chaste. No forward advances or lusty innuendos which threw off Sarah because men like him don't exist anymore! Although I understand Sarah's frustration, clearly she's attracted to the guy and she'd more than welcome some mild molestation from the yummy professor.

Flashbacks plays a major component HER DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND as there is rich history between Sarah and James. However I feel could've been presented better. The flashbacks are Interspersed with the dialogue told as hearsay and it can be confusing with the he said, I said, she said. I think it would've been better if it was formatted the same way Sarah shared her dreams to us readers, italicized and indented so to speak. 

HER DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND has a fascinating backstory and I love Salem as the backdrop. But inasmuch ad MAllard provided history relating to the witches and the Salem trials, there's not much detail on her vampire (Yes, vampires!) myth. I'm to assume MAllard adapts the standard myth, allergy to sunlight, silver, garlic and stakes? James himself isn't sure if he'll combust under the sun. He's been a vamp since the 17th century and he's not very acquainted with his preternatural limitations. Even Timothy, a fellow vampire, is basically clueless and gets ideas about his kind from TV.

On the other hand, I love the witches. I hope they either get their own series or we see more of them. They're the real deal, spellcasters, seers, potion makers, dream interpreters, I want more!

HER DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND's ending isn't a cliffhanger. Unless you read the blurb for book 2, there's no indication what the sequel would be. Which is good because it can be read as a stand-alone. It seemed as if all the issues are resolved which makes me wonder what kinds of challenges Sarah and James will be faced with. I guess I now have a reason to pick up Her Loving Husband's Curse.

The rest of the trilogy is now available.
Purchase Her Dear and Loving Husband

Meredith Allard has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction workshops at Learning Tree University, UNLV, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference. Her short fiction and articles have appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, Wild Mind, Moondance, Muse Apprentice Guild, The Maxwell Digest, CarbLite, Writer’s Weekly, and ViewsHound. She is the author of the Loving Husband Trilogy, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle (Copperfield Press). She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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  1. I enjoyed this one too and it's perfect for fall.

  2. I love stories that dip into reincarnation as well, and the witch trials are usually pretty intense to read about. I think I'd be a little disappointed with under-developed vampires, though... how can they not know if they can be in the sun or not?

    Great review :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Yeah that confused me a little bit, hopefully we and James will be educated in Book 2.

  3. Sounds good except for the more romance than paranormal

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed Her Dear and Loving Husband. It's good to know that it could be a stand alone book for those who don't care for series books.

  5. I love reincarnation stories too. I have a theory about my own reincarnation and it would be nice to find out if I might be right. Anyway, James sounds like a great character and I really want to meet him! I agree, guys like him don't really exist anymore. Or they are hard to find at least.
    wonderful review!

  6. LOL geek chic. I love that :) Sounds like a great hero to me! I've had this one on my kindle for ages. Hopefully one day I'll get to it :)

  7. I'm a sucker for stories with reincarnation and soul mates, too, Braine, although I like the term 'hopeful' romantic! LOL This story has my really intrigued with the Salem witches involved. I think I'd agree with you on the flashback presentation - those can be confusing if not done well. And vampires?!? That's a great addition although the inclusion sounds a little murky if James has been one for so long but doesn't understand much about himself. Hmm...I'm glad the witches made up for the lack of lore surrounding the vamps. I'm still curious enough to check it out. Great review, Braine!

    1. I think I'll use that phrase moving forward, Hopeful Romantic.

      I'm hoping book 2 will take care of some of the things I've mentioned or it could be that I just have to get used to and embrace her writing style.


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