Title: Stranger in My Arms
Written by Lisa Kleypas
Published by Avon
Publication Date: February 22nd 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Find on Goodreads
From the glittering ballrooms of Regency London to the glorious gardens of countryside manors, Lisa Kleypas invites her readers to visit a lushly romantic world. Now, Lisa has written her most unforgettable love story...
"Lady Hawksworth, your husband is not dead..."
With those words, Lara's life turned upside down. Hunter, Earl of Hawksworth, had been lost at sea. Or so she'd been told. Their unhappy marriage—with its cold caresses and passionless kisses—was over. But now a powerful, virile man stood before her, telling secrets only a husband could know, and vowing she would once again be his wife in every way. While Lara couldn't deny that this man with the smoldering dark eyes resembled Hunter, he was attentive and loving in ways he never was before. Soon she desperately wanted to believe, with every beat of her heart, that this stranger was truly her husband. But had this rake reformed—or was Lara being seduced by a cunning stranger?
I have read and re-read this book multiple times and it has never failed to entertain me. I love the story and to be honest, I have read at least once in each book cover design. Here are the covers:
This is a unique story, I thought and I never expected the twist in the end when it was revealed who the real Hunter was. When it was revealed that the stranger was Hunter’s half brother, I felt that it was a little bit unsettling to a certain extent but I still enjoyed reading this story.
The story starts off with the family solicitor announcing that Hunter, the Earl of Hawksworth was not dead as was originally thought of a year ago. Apparently, Hunter was the only survivor of the ship he was on when he was in India leaving behind Lara a widow. Hunter and Lara’s marriage was a typical one of that era, arranged and without love. However, it left Lara hurt and disillusioned with her building a wall around her heart and devoting herself in charity endeavors. Hunter, on the other hand, continued his scandalous relationship with a widow without any regard to Lara’s feelings. To top it off, Lara was unable to bear any children which was the only reason Hunter married her.
With Hunter dead and with no issue, his title went to his cousin and his wife who did not treat Lara well and in the span of a year, nearly bankrupted the whole family. Of course, the couple did not take kindly to this new development and vowed to expose Hunter to the fraud that he really is. Incidentally, Hunter’s mother was touring the continent so they couldn’t ask her to identify him for the time being. Since the solicitor and the family doctor, and even one of his closest friend (who was married to Lara’s sister), and even Lara (with doubts) vouched for his identity, he was able to reclaim his legacy.
Naturally, it is not revealed in the story if the stranger is really Hunter but from his actions alone, one would guess that something was not right. Most especially Lara, since the return of her husband brought about changes in his demeanor and treatment toward her. In fact, Hunter had changed and this time, he wanted his marriage with Lara to work. Lara, who had built a wall around her heart started to believe that this would be a second chance at finding love at last and appeared to ignore the obvious changes in her husband.
I love the sparks that flew between Lara and Hunter. I liked that this Hunter was doing his best to make up for his supposed transgressions before he left for India. I also liked that the author focused on those little things that made Lara fall in love again with her husband despite her suspicion and misgivings.
I also fell in love with Hunter, well the new Hunter. Because he was a bastard and he wanted to live the kind of life his brother, the real Hunter took for granted. Both men had met in India when the new Hunter (it was never revealed in the book what his real name is) confronted his half brother who was being a jerk as always. The new Hunter was desperate to find out his real family and he snooped around and managed to read his brother’s journals and Lara’s letters to the real Hunter. Stealing a locket that Lara gave Hunter before he left for India, he started to become a little bit obsessed with Lara.
Despite the creepiness of Hunter’s desire to take over another person’s life, I thought this story was perfectly executed. In fact, the theme did not feel creepy or disturbing at all and I love it! I will definitely be re-reading this book again!