Published: June 2013
Genre: historical fiction, romance
Eloisa James’ With this kiss series chronicles the lives of Lady Grace Ryburn, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Ashbrook and Colin Barry the adopted son of her father’ best friend Sir Griffin Barry. Their fathers are reformed pirates who now lead respectable lives along with their wives and children.
The families are close and hence Grace and Colin have known each other all their lives. Grace has a younger sister, whose beauty surpasses her own and that proves to be a running theme through the series. As they grow up Grace falls in love with Colin who though does notice her doesn’t really think much of the fact. He just believes its something that is natural, and hence bound to happen. Grace is a gifted painter and spends majority of her time with a canvas and brushes while her sister is a natural at balls and dinners. Colin, meanwhile joins the Navy, in order to make his adoptive parents proud of him, even though he begins to hate the work, the prolonged exposure to the war and death causes him PTSD, which he is somewhat embarrassed about.
All the while that Colin is a part of the Navy, Grace continues to write letters to him narrating to him even the most inconsequential events back home so that Colin may always be aware of even the most minor things and not feel left out of his own family.
Things turn around when Colin on a leave arrives back home only to be smitten with Grace’ sister. Who couldn’t have seen that coming right? He even asks for her hand in marriage, only to be denied by Grace’ father reasoning he cannot wed his daughter who isn’t even 20 as of yet, when in reality he knows his elder daughter is in love with him. So poor broken hearted Grace licks her wounds in private and stops with her mails. She even tries to move on, gets engaged to another bloke only to have her feelings revive when Colin returns after an honourable discharge.
Turns out its the lack of any letters from Grace’ part after her last letter in which she also addresses herself not as his friend but just as Lady Grace is the wake-up call Colin needs. He realises that it was those letters with the most irrelevant things that kept him sane all the while as he saw horrors and death all around him during his naval service. Only to be blinded – literally – after accidentally being in close proximity to a cannon blast.
What happens next is the stuff headaches are made of, really! Drug induced consummation, the cliché misunderstandings and the happily ever after with a house full of kids.