Book Review: Her Dear and Loving Husband (Loving Husband Trilogy, Book 1) by Meredith Allard.
Publication Date: 13th November 2013 Publisher: Copperfield Press Page Length: 336 Pages Genre: Paranormal
How long would you wait for the one you loved?
Professor James Wentworth has a paranormal 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, and every night she is awakened by terrifying visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail--scenes from the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.
As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must also dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah 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 romance, part historical fiction, part paranormal fantasy, Her Dear and Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.
She heard words, phrases, echoing from somewhere. She wasn’t afraid. It wasn’t like being haunted or chased or dragged away by chains. It was as if she suddenly remembered something she had forgotten.
Moving away seems to be the most sensible thing for Sarah Alexander to do. Leaving behind an old life, and recently divorced from a man she never loved, Sarah moves to Salem. If she wanted a change from the hustle of Los Angeles, Salem is where she would find it. Salem is a small and quiet town, so very different from the city she had spent so long living in. Salem is just the change she needs, and while she’s there, she might get a chance to discover more about one of her ancestors—an ancestor that she believed had died as a victim of the Witch Trials. Yet, Salem is a strange town, renowned for its connections to the supernatural, and warnings of ghosts at night might not be all she will encounter. Her dreams haunt her, for they were simply dreams in Los Angeles, but in Salem, they are nightmares. Within these dreams she sees a vision of a man, a family, a life that she does not know, and does not understand.
James Wentworth isn’t new to Salem, it is a place that he is incredibly familiar with, even more so than the other locals. However, he doesn’t know how to react when he sees his dead wife through the window of his house—but she doesn’t seem to know him. Sarah Alexander looks exactly like Elizabeth did. Such a thing could surely not be a coincidence? Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard tells the story of a love that cannot be broken by time. It is the story of two souls, bound together by fate and of how fate works its magic to bring them together.
While many live unaware, it is not difficult to believe that in a town such as Salem, not everyone is as normal, nor as human, as might be expected. For James, such a life is unavoidable, but a reporter has been going around, asking questions about him. The reporter is trying to uncover some proof that an unearthly creature lives in Salem. Should such proof arise, should the reporter be able to convince anyone, this could cause a repeat of the Witch Hunt in the modern-day and in a world so much more connected, this would be disastrous. Many of those convicted in 1962 were innocent, and it was the innocent men, women and children who lost their lives because of prejudices against them. It only took the smallest sign of witchcraft, or a fabricated lie fuelled by indignation for fingers to be pointed and warrants to be signed. How simple it would be to create hysteria, to release the information that would make people suspect their neighbours, to lie about people that had wronged them, to cause such death and destruction on a global scale.
James and Sarah’s relationship burns slowly, for James has been loyal to his wife since her death. Therefore, he feels somewhat hesitant. Does he like Sarah, or is he simply drawn to her because she looks like Elizabeth? While James is conflicted, Sarah is confused, for James is remarkably like the man in her dreams. How could she have dreamt about his house before she had seen it? Why did she recognise the gables, the diamond-paned windows, the tree in the garden? Furthermore, she has just left a relationship, a marriage—she is supposed to wait, to let time pass before she even thinks about looking at someone like that again. The confusion, the friendliness and the tension build between the two, slowly and beautifully, like the moon rising in the sky, the stars shyly showing themselves, and the light shining down, not as bright as the sun, but no less stunning. The desire, the want for the other, is clear within them both, but there are things holding them apart. As the moon will never meet the sun, James doesn’t know how close he can get to Sarah, and Sarah is unsure of how close she should get to James. However, she wants to know about the Witch Trials, to discover more about her ancestor, and to understand why she dreams of being shackled and jailed, and James seems something of an expert on the history. Despite her initial misgivings about him, she finds herself wishing he would ask to come in, coming up with any excuse to stay in the car just a little longer. She feels safe around him, much like in her dreams, she feels safe and loved by the unknown man, and likewise, he cannot stay away.
Both Sarah and James are incredibly engaging, believable protagonists. They are put through their own trials, and they fight their way through. Sarah may be in the dark about a lot of things, but James wants to protect her. How can he do that with a reporter poking around, who may or may not know the truth? How would Sarah react if she knew such truths, and how would her view of James change? Sarah’s dreams, the vivid recreation of a life so long ago, help to create an engrossing story, wherein one’s mind is constantly jumping from one conclusion to the next, so very like the Witch Trials in that you will believe anything until it is proven otherwise, and sometimes steadfast knowledge is not enough to break your resolution. It doesn’t matter what conclusion you come to, for the truth is one thing, but what is believed is something else altogether.
Sarah quickly becomes friendly with the head librarian, Jennifer, whose intuition is almost unnatural. Jennifer is such a wonderful woman, and an excellent friend to both Sarah and James, for despite knowing Sarah for such a short time, and James her whole life, she is as kind and loving to them both, always willing to drop everything and rush to help them, or to sit and listen as they talk to her. Her mother, Olivia, is much the same, and her shop, The Witches Lair, is exactly the kind of shop one might expect to find in Salem—full with incense, tarot cards and crystals, and Olivia fits right into her shop. Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard is an enthralling novel that threatens to mesmerise. The compelling narrative weaves together a setting that many know the name of, but not necessarily the specific events that made it so infamous. Allard has penned a captivating novel of the mystic nature in the town of Salem and how the love between two souls can prevail over the passing of time and anything that may impede them. I Highly Recommend. Review by Ellie Yarde. The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her other books include Christmas at Hembry Castle; Down Salem Way, the prequel to the Loving Husband Trilogy; Victory Garden, a novel of the women’s suffrage movement; Woman of Stones, a novella of Biblical Jerusalem; That You Are Here, a contemporary sweet romance; The Window Dresser and Other Stories; and Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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