June 22, 2013

Yours Until Dawn - Teresa Medeiros

Yours Until Dawn - Teresa Medeiros
Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 27, 2004
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || e-book

Gabriel Fairchild's valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, he secludes himself in his family's mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.

Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn't possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel's life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets -- and some pleasures -- are best explored in the dark ... (from Goodreads)

There's nothing quite like the satisfaction a reader experiences after reading a good historical romance. Yours Until Dawn was the first romance I've read in a while, and I'd like to report that this genre is still such a heavenly experience when it's done right. This novel comes complete with elements that I adore: a brooding hero, a charming heroine, a mutual dislike that slowly transforms into fondness. The story was riveting, completely capturing my attention from beginning to end. Equal parts delightful, romantic, fanciful and dramatic, Yours Until Dawn was a great read.

Readers are introduced to the heroine, Samantha Wickersham, straight away. The initial impression is that she's no nonsense, stubborn, capable nurse. But that's not the case at all! She's certainly all those things, but also more. She's smart and sassy, usually ready with a quick comeback or plan of action. She's also got a strong sentimentality hidden under the surface, but chooses to disguise her vulnerability from her charge. It was easy to like Samantha, particularly as she seems like the kind of girl anyone could be friends with.

And then there's the hero - one Gabriel Fairchild, a man who is scarred by his battle experiences, both emotionally and physically. It's always interesting to read about men who are at war with themselves. On one hand, Gabriel is proud and stubborn, refusing to accept his disability or any offered help. But on the other, he's surprisingly vulnerable because everything he knows has changed completely. Slowly, with Samantha's aid, Gabriel starts to feel more capable and comfortable and it is then that he truly blossoms. He's got a wicked sense of humor, a sweet romantic side and moments where he's decidedly male. (Make of that last bit what you will!).

The romance between these two is characterized by witty banter, quiet moments and explosive physical affection. I was swept up in the fantasy of it all, so caught up in the tide that it took me a while to notice the fact that the story (at least the first part of it) reminded me of a little of Beauty and the Beast. The similarity really only lies in the fact that the girl meets a "beast" who she then treats with kindness, which inspires the "beast" to be more gentle and less abrasive, but that's certainly enough for me!

And then, there's the twist in the story. I have to mention it because the twist was enough to make me stop reading, put a hand on my heart and go "Oh, my word!" I certainly did not see it coming, which made it all the more pleasurable. It was the good kind of twist, and after I hit that point, I just knew that this story was going to get even more interesting than it already was. If you, by chance, read this (which I hope you do), we can totally discuss the twist at any time!

Yours Until Dawn was a pleasant first foray back into historical romances. The story was deceptively simple on a surface level, so I was surprised to discover there was certainly more to it. I really liked Samantha and positively adored Gabriel, so it's definitely believable that I'd fall hard for the two of them together. Clearly, Medeiros knows how to write a romance - and I need to check out more of her work.

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