Yours Until Dawn
Teresa Medeiros
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Yours Until Dawn
Teresa Medeiros
373 pages
August 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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In Yours Until Dawn, Teresa Medeiros spins a tale reminiscent of the old fairytale "Beauty and the Beast." However, in this story, the setting is Regency England, the beast is an Earl, and the beauty is his nurse. Medeiros has a flair for storytelling and uses her skill to easily draw the reader into the world of her fascinating characters and their problems.

Gabriel Fairchild, Earl of Sheffield, was a man of good looks and great charm with a rakish reputation. But that was before he joined the Royal Navy to win the respect of his fiancée, working his way up the ranks until he became a lieutenant aboard the HMS Victory. During the battle at Trafalgar Napoleon had been defeated, but the cost of victory was high. Gabriel is one of its casualties, and when he returns home it is to a world of darkness.

Back in a London hospital, blind and scarred, Gabriel is deserted by his fiancée, who he believes cannot bear the way he now looks or the fact that he is unable to function in the world. His own family is uncomfortable around him, and finally he retreats to his boyhood country home at Fairchild Park. There he literally closes out the world and stumbles through his days in a house shrouded in darkness.

When Miss Samantha Wickersham applies for the position of nurse to the earl of Sheffield, she gets more than she bargains for. The atmosphere at Fairchild Park is oppressive, with the drapes pulled tight and the servants creeping around almost aimlessly. Nor is the earl an ailing invalid, but with his shaggy, unkempt appearance and his angry roar, he is more a wounded beast than a man. He immediately attempts to dismiss her, hiding behind the mask of his disfigurement to cover any hint of vulnerability or fear. But Samantha is no wilting young miss, and she informs Gabriel that since his father hired her, Gabriel cannot fire her. Then her real work begins.

Samantha’s tart tongue and severe dress hide a woman of great depth who is capable of deep empathy and wisdom. Bit by bit, she draws Gabriel out of himself. Their battle of wills is mighty, with Samantha determined to help Gabriel find a way to live with his blindness and Gabriel doing everything in his power to drive Samantha away. Slowly she brings light back into Gabriel’s home and into Gabriel himself, while falling for the complex man behind the arrogant mask.

Stronger and wiser than he once was, Gabriel will not fall under the spell of a pretty face once again. Indeed, it is only now that he is blind that he learns what true beauty is. Samantha’s beauty radiates from within and shines through in her intelligence, passion, and stubbornness. He has never seen her face, but her beauty has captured his heart.

But Samantha knows that her time with him is limited. Once Gabriel learns to function in his world once again, her job will be finished. And besides that, there are many other obstacles to their budding relationship, the least of which is the fact that he is an earl and she is a servant in his household. But the heart doesn’t listen to reason, and Samantha is in danger of losing hers to Gabriel.

Teresa Medeiros pens a story of surprising depth and emotion. Although the tale is a familiar one, Medeiros throws in unexpected twists and turns along the way that makes Yours Until Dawn something special. Romantic and heartrending at times, brutally honest and compelling at others, Yours Until Dawn shows the growth of two people who have to struggle through their own problems to become who they were meant to be. Only then do they stand a chance at being together.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Norma Collins, 2004

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