"I fight dirty, I kill for a living and I'm not capable of being faithful."
The words might come straight from Major Adam Flint's mouth, but they certainly don't describe the man who saved vulnerable Rose's life. Yes, Flint is illegitimate, a roughened soldier and an incorrigible rake -- but Rose has never met a man so defined by honor.
Who else, when faced with a lady rendered memoryless by the traumas of war, would resist the intense attraction that burns between them? Rose might not know her own name, but she knows her heart -- and her heart wants Flint!
Very good book that takes place immediately following the Battle of Waterloo. Adam is an artillery officer who is looking for missing members of his unit when he stumbles across Rose. She is about to be attacked by four deserters when Adam rescues her. She is in shock, unable to speak, and clings to him, so he takes her back to his lodgings with him and the rest of his unit. He's not sure what to do with her, but he can't abandon her.
Rose had eloped with a young soldier the night before the battle. Unfortunately, she discovered he was not the man she thought he was. The battle happened before they could marry, but she knows she is ruined anyway. After the battle she goes to the battlefield looking for him, and the things she sees traumatize her to the point that she can't remember who she is. All she knows is that she feels safe with Adam.
Adam is the illegitimate son of an earl, but doesn't consider himself a gentleman. He joined the army at fourteen and came up through the ranks because of his skills with artillery. At one point in his career he was discovered by his legitimate half-brother, who pulled Adam into his own unit and got him a commission as an officer. However, Adam still feels that there is a huge gulf between them.
I loved the protectiveness that Adam had for Rose. He wasn't sure why he felt so compelled to take care of her, but he couldn't just hand her off to someone else. He understands what has affected her so strongly and has the ability to help her through it. He's also very attracted to her, but resists doing anything about it because she is vulnerable and he won't take advantage.
I felt so sorry for Rose as the horrors of what she saw affected her so deeply. The shock of it all caused her brain to shut down all memory of it and what led up to it. She does remember that she was with a soldier and that whatever she did has caused her to be "ruined". She feels that she has no reputation left to worry about. She starts to get flashes of her past, but it takes awhile for her to put them together. In the meantime she is falling hard for Adam.
I enjoyed the relationship that grew between Rose and Adam. Though he believes her to be a camp follower, he also has a feeling that there is more to her story. I loved seeing him trying to do the right thing according to his own sense of honor, but she gets to be more than he can resist. He tries hard to convince her that he is no good for her, but she refuses to believe it. What surprises him is that he is beginning to think of life after the army, with Rose by his side. But when her identity is revealed, he's back to thinking he's too far beneath her. What happens afterward speaks well of his honor and his growing feelings for Rose, though he doesn't really understand what those feelings are.
Rose starts out simply grateful for Adam's rescue of her, but as she starts to recover from the shock she discovers that she wants Adam more than she had wanted the boy she ran off with. I loved seeing how she was willing to go after what she wanted. I also liked the way that she saw past the man that Adam showed to the rest of the world to the amazing man underneath. As her memory begins to return, she worries that she will lose him when he finds out who she is. She also remembers the reasons that she had rejected former suitors and believes that Adam is different than they are. When he discovers who she is and attempts to do the right thing in his opinion, she tells him that she doesn't want a husband from obligation but one who loves her.
During this period I really enjoyed seeing how protective they were of each other. Neither wanted to see the other disrespected and I enjoyed seeing the way that they stood up for each other. I was a bit frustrated with Adam's refusal to see that he is worthy of Rose, and definitely frustrated with Rose's inability to see that Adam really cared for her, even though he didn't know how to say it. I loved the ending and Adam's big moment.
I loved the epilogue and seeing all three couples together. I haven't read the first two books as yet, but I expect them to be just as good. It's unusual to have related books like this taking place at the same time rather than consecutively, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it was done.