By Eloisa James
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Grace, having accepted that Colin will never lover her as she has dreamed of for many years, gets on with her life. She accepts the proposal of Lord John McIngle, a kind man who cherishes Grace and with whom she believes she can build a contented, fulfilling life. Meanwhile, a wounded Colin is on his way home. He can finally honorably forsake the warrior’s life that has so scarred him, but he believes it is too late for him to confess his feelings to Grace. She deserves a whole man, and Colin sees himself as less than that. Grace can be his only in laudanum-induced dreams.
Seeing Colin wounded and vulnerable stirs Grace to action. Regardless of the consequences to her reputation, she insists that she will accompany him to Arbor House. With her mother’s help, Grace sets off with Colin, who has been heavily sedated by a doctor too free with the laudanum. The result is an inability in Colin to distinguish dreams from reality and an unwillingness in Grace to believe that the desire he finally expresses for her is genuine rather than the result of his confusion. The section ends with major misunderstanding.
This should be subtitled "The Heartbreak Section." I read it with Kleenex in hand and resorted to using it with soggy frequency. The sad moments start fairly early in this section, beginning when Grace defends her decision to marry John to Lily, the only one who thinks he’s wrong for Grace. I started sniffling with Grace’s words: “No one will ever love me in the right way, not in that feverish way that men fall in love with you [Lily]. I’m not that sort of woman!” I cried during Grace’s conversation with her mother, moved by the relationship James shows us between mother and daughter. I particularly loved this scene since I am often dismayed by the disproportionate numbers of bad mothers in romance fiction. By the cliffhanger ending, which truly is a black moment when it seems impossible that these two characters who clearly belong together can ever resolve all their problems, I had a small mountain of tear-soaked tissues cluttering the table beside my reading chair.
Part Three will be all the sweeter for the heartbreak of Part Two. Thank goodness—and Eloisa James—that readers have to wait only a week for the HEA payoff. I highly recommend With This Kiss, Part Two with one caveat. Do Not read this without having read Part One. Remember that a serialized novel is a single story split into sections. Reading them out of order is like beginning a book by reading the middle chapters first.
Do sad or sentimental scenes in books make you cry? What’s the last book that left you teary?