When diplomat Sir Julian Templeton falls over a stricken gentlewoman, he little expects to end up marrying her. Neither does he anticipate the pitfalls he must negotiate, nor the shifts he must make, in order to win his bride’s love and trust.
Impoverished and desperate, Miss Helena Dorking reluctantly accepts the handsome stranger’s offer of help after she is left for dead in the snow. When, on finding his mother unexpectedly from home, Sir Julian honourably offers marriage to save Helena from ruin, she has little choice but to accept him. Yet how can she be the wife he wants and needs? How can she overcome her fears and allow herself to love him?
Somehow Julian must find a way to cut the chains which bind Helena to her fear so he can win her heart.
I got to say that this is good, really good, it’s got a real vintage feel about it from the style in which King writes to the language. This is a charming ‘Marriage of Convenience’ story on the surface it does appear to be a very basic story but the further you delve into it, it is soon apparent that Chains of Fear is much more than that.
After she is forced to leave her position due to an incident Helena Dorking is now running away, she has very little to her name but what she holds and a few coin’s stitched into her cloak. She is desperate and scared, so she takes the risk of traveling on the coach alone, after stopping at a road side inn she is robbed and left for dead in the snow. Only to be rescued by a handsome as sin devil with voice like chocolate – I love that description of his voice!
Helena is a proud young woman, in fact that pride not only gets in her way it stops her from accepting the simplest of gifts or kindness. I can so relate to her she is used to doing things her own way, for herself, voicing her own views and suddenly she needs to rely on another. She definitely has trust issues and by going by what she has been through that is understandable. I found to be a very likable character, she isn’t the smartest cookie and actually very naïve, but she is a lovely down-to-earth young lady who is actually very funny once she lowers those defences.
Sir Julian is a proper gentleman, when he literally trips over a body in the snow, only to find it to be the young woman who had caught his attention in the inn, he can’t leave her. He tries to arrange a room for her at the inn, but the landlady is a brutal woman who think’s that poor Helena is good for nothing, which leaves Julian in a bit of a sticky spot. He can’t leave her alone, so he decides to do the honourable thing and take her home for his mother to look after.
Which is easy said than done, firstly it’s trying to persuade nervous and skittish Helena to go anywhere with him – the carriage ride to his house is a hoot, at one point she gets out of the carriage, falls on the ice and shoots herself with his pistol. – Once at his home he realizes that his well laid plan isn’t going to work as he find’s his home empty. Desperate not to cause scandal with having a single lady in his house alone and save her reputation, he does the decent thing and offer’s her marriage.
Julian is a wonderful character, not only he is rather easy on the eye, with his smooth as chocolate voice and penetrating brown eyes. He is quick-witted, charming and very protective. There is a predatory aura about him, even Helena pick’s up on it as soon as she meet’s him when she describes him as a lion. He is charismatic, smooth and confidant. He swears he’s no gentleman, even though he act’s just that, I like him is every inch the gentleman no matter what he thinks. He is good and kind, he goes above and beyond her Helena.
Their relationship is hard won on both sides, even though there is a mutual attraction, she is very taken with the tall dark and handsome man who as literally swept her off her frozen feet, but she does find it difficult to let him get too close. I love their bantering, it’s fast and witty, they have a great chemistry I love how their personalities seem to bounce off one and other.
One of the things I love about King’s work is her attention to detail, every scene is rich in historic detail. Everything is captured in absolute detail like a photograph, her descriptions of the most ordinary thing’s like the décor and chimney soot gives the story life. Chains of Fear is an engaging, atmospheric and lovingly written story of moving on, dealing with inner fear and being able to trust again. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it flows nicely from scene to scene the story is strong and articulate, I particularly like how the characters develop throughout the book.
A highly enjoyable read!
This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for any honest review.
Chains of Fear can be purchased from Amazon.