To Have and to Hold (Wyckerley Trilogy #2)by Patricia Gaffney
Rachel Wade has served time in prison
Suave, cynical, and too handsome for his own good, Sebastian Verlaine never expects to become a magistrate judging the petty crimes of his tenants and neighbors. Nor can the new Viscount D�Aubrey foresee that, when a fallen woman appears before him, he�ll find himself beguiled against all reason to alter her terrible fate....
Rachel Wade has served time in prison for her husband�s violent death, but she soon discovers that freedom has its own price. For no one will offer her a second chance but a jaded viscount who needs a housekeeper. Scorned by the townspeople of Wyckerley as D�Aubrey�s mistress, tempted beyond her will by the devilish lord, Rachel risks all she had to claim a life of her own...and a love that will last for all time.
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I started this book expecting a lovely romance up to the amazing standards Mrs. Gaffney had set with 'Wild at Heart' and 'To Love And To Cherish'. The 'hero', Sebastian, hires Rachel as his housekeeper on a whim, thus saving her from jail or the workhouse. From that moment on, she is completely in his power, both of them knowing full well that if she leaves, or if he fires her, she'll be sent back. Sebastian shows no compunction about abusing his power in ways that, today, would have rightly sent him to jail several times over, culminating in no less than rape. This is not a case of 'forced seduction': Rachel is very clear about not wanting to have sex with Sebastian, and he is perfectly aware of that, and simply doesn't care. I would have found such scenes shocking in a romance if they involved the villain, having the 'hero' do shuch things is beyond sickening.
An Amazing Story 5+stars I picked up this book on the recommendation from an author whose work I admire, her dark romances give credit to Ms Gaffney’s influence from this novel. I am so happy I did because this story will stay with me, it’s that good. This compelling story pulled me from the first words and kept me spellbound until the end. Ms. Gaffney uses her craft to pen a smartly written, dark romance that is deeply emotional, filled with heartache, renewal and hope. Her clearly defined characters brought me along their journey; raging from the injustice, heartache over the new and simple things they discover with each other, to a tentative hope for a future. Sebastian Verlaine, the new Viscount D’Aubrey meets Rachel Wade over proceedings at hall of justice where he serves as one of three magistrates in the village of Wyckerley. Rachel has just been released from prison after serving time for murdering her husband of one week. Finding difficulty gaining employment, she’s been brought in for vagrancy and almost gets sent back to prison, but Sebastian hires her as his new housekeeper. At first, Sebastian’s intentions for Rachel is clearly of a sexual nature, but he takes his time to assess Rachel’s apprehensive and untrusting nature. When his friends come for a visit, they humiliate and taunt Rachel about her imprisonment, each of her answers making her relive the torment. Disgusted and sickened by his guests, Sebastian finally comes to his senses in time to rescue Rachel from an attempted assault. This is the turning point from which he realizes how degenerate and despicable his kind is, as he has become. I dearly loved all ways Sebastian handled Rachel with his unlimited patience, gentleness and understanding. From their lovemaking, long walks, soul-revealing conversations, to the endearing moments of simple pleasures, they truly become more than just lovers. With encouragement Sebastian helps Rachel heal emotionally, gain confidence and self-reliance. I admired Rachel for her soul. Though she went through hell, tortured, deprived of human contact, and nearly broken, she showed integrity and kindness. This is a complicated love story that was born out of need and helplessness, but became something stronger as they learn to trust each other. For both Sebastian and Rachel, it self-discovery and a chance for love. Not your usual historical romance, a bit darker, but so worthwhile. The heart-stopping twist towards the end had me swooning, but what a satisfying ending. I highly recommend To Have And To Hold, a must read.
I loved this book almost as much as the 1st one in the series. A previous reviewer states that the actions of the "hero", Sebastian, are sickening. And, yes, for a while they are. But, that's the point. There's no redemption if there wasn't the callous, bad behavior first. Rachel and Sebastian save each other, and that's what makes it so moving.
Enjoyed this immensely -- really couldn't put it down -- it involved all the senses: mind, heart, soul, and sex. Strongly recommend it. Sort of Laurens, Beverly, Kleypas with an edge...