Traumatic blindness, a condition difficult to understand in the medical tech of Victorian times, brings a different context to the story. The lively span of characters beyond the lovers help keep this story moving for me by bringing more than passionate romance.
Victorian Affairs of the Heart
Christopher Westing, younger Lord Westing, is very eligible, but he doesn’t have his eye on anyone in particular. He takes another look at Lady Jane Chatley, but she has a reputation of being rather snobbish. His sister, Amanda, labels her as a ‘snout-looker’. An accidental conversation debunks that opinion. Christopher finds he does like Jane because she is candid and doesn’t appear to be a fortune hunter.
Jane was good at the things girls were supposed to do — ladylike activities, but she was also smart and well-read. She is not the youngest ingenue because she is picky and refuses to marry for money. Her eye has been on Christopher for quite awhile, but she suspects he wouldn’t care for her.
Just as they realize they like each other, through a terrible fiery accident, Christopher is blinded. The fire is an explosion when his father is having gas installed in the kitchen There was a leak, which led to explosion, killing three men and dropping part of the house on Christopher, bonking him on the head and leading to the traumatic blindness. There is no guarantee that he will recover, but he does have a good chance to see again.
At every opportunity, they give in to a steamy attraction in private. But heart blindness in the face of Victorian society makes a match difficult for them to establish.
The Spark is There If They Will Blow on It
Jane doesn’t learn of the fire until several days later. During that time, she has been wondering why he doesn’t call on her, feeling rejected.
When she learns the truth, Jane visits Christopher at home. comes to read to him and talk with him. Braille reading resources were a ‘new wrinkle’ during Victorian time. Jane acquires information and books for Christopher using the new systems. Despite their steamy attraction, and the way she doesn’t make him feel like invalid, he becomes worried that she may be committed to someone else.
The couple argue. Christopher gets all noble about not being able to take care of a wife and being dependent and blind. His parents have been trying to make a match with Jane, but his gossipy sister throws a brick into the works of love. When, he hears that Jane is to marry the cousin, he believes it and breaks off with her again.
Jane, thinking he is a lost cause, is worried about her mother Lady Emily Chatley’s position in the family. Cousin Bernard will inherit the title of Lord Chatley and all the property, should her drunken, philandering father die. She agrees to marry Bernard to protect the family fortune.
Traumatic Blindness of the Heart
There’s more keeping the lovers on edge than traumatic blindness. Because Jane and Christopher love each other, while neither of them will be sensible, the plot thickens. Will they be forever caught in lives that do not match their hearts’ desire?
Suddenly, Jane’s wastrel father dies! Cousin Bernard threatens to cut mama off especially out of the house unless Jane marries him. Jane and Mama, Lady Emily Chatley have been squirreling money away so that they can run away to Paris.
Victorian Life Could be Difficult for Women
Jane had an allowance, but her father controlled it. She wanted to squirrel cash to take to Paris, but had to take out small amounts each day to keep the bank from informing her father that she was removing larger amounts. Her mother had been doing the same thing.
Jane’s father was an abusive ogre. But, her mother couldn’t have left him and kept custody of her child, even under the Custody of Infants Act. At the time Jane was an infant the act wasn’t in effect. She would have been the property of her father. He could have taken her, given her to one of his mistresses and kept her from her mother. Lady Emily made choices for her life to keep herself in Jane’s life.
The Beastly Lords — Prolific Author
Profanity and violence are low in Lord Darkness which is Book 4 in the Beastly Lord Series. But there are the promised steamy sensual scenes. That promise is part of the author’s style.
She has a lovely, informative website with more information about her writing. Sydney Jane Baily. There are currently five books in the Beastly Lord Series, with Book 6 in the works. While they are a series, they can be read as stand-alone stories, not dependent upon the others.