My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Hero's Redemption by Georgie Lee was essentially a sweet story between two people who have seen their share of hardship and pain. I definitely liked the storyline, as a hero with PTSD is one of my favorite themes. I can say the same about the author’s writing though this was my first story by her. What I didn’t like was how rushed and incomplete the story felt when I finished it.
Devon has been scarred both inside out in the war with France. He has been suffering from PTSD since his return and it’s getting worse day by day. Devon is miserable in general, more so because he’s wrecked with guilt of not being able to save the life of the man who saved his own. This man, Thomas Selton didn’t know him when he died saving him. Returning to London hasn’t been of any help. No one understands Devon’s pain, his guilt and misery. I was especially saddened by his mother’s treatment, who showed not a little motherly instinct, instead reminding Devon of what a disappointment he has been since his return just because he’s not merry enough to attend the balls and act as if nothing ever happened!
One day, when Devon is too drunk, he’s kidnapped by a baronet named Lucien and his evil wife Martha. As he’s plagued by PTSD at night, Devon remembers a woman’s voice soothing him, lulling him to peaceful sleep, maybe for the first time in his life after the war. The next day, he’s dupe into thinking that he has compromised a lady named Cathleen, who’s also Lucien’s half-sister. Lucien and Martha are as shady as they come and the news of their gambling debt is known throughout London. The baronet demands some satisfaction from Devon and oddly enough, it’s not marriage but financial settlement. Devon knew them enough to know all these were planned. He’s even suspicious of Cathleen, but then, he remembers how she soothed him. Devon’s instinct tells him trust in her, yet indecision plagues him; can he actually trust her, ever?
Cathleen is desperate to leave her half-brother’s house, getting away from his nefarious machinations. Since her widowhood, she’d been reduced to live by scraps, until Lucien and Martha showed her their ‘kindness’ and took her in. And now they’ve involved her in their schemes. Cathleen can’t take it, more so when she sees suspicion in Devon’s eyes. She knows all about him as he has been deemed as a hero for his role in the war. Her husband had also died in that war and Cathleen wants his esteem. She comes up with a plan to open up herbal medicine shop, in the hopes that Devon will help her get away. But when they meet at a ball next, Devon doesn’t care for Cathleen’s plan. He’s still at war with his emotions. On one hand, he wants her and her cool calmness that soothes him. He needs that feeling in his unruly life. On the other, he’s not ready to trust her because of her family. I was scared that this will become a big issue between them later on, and to some extent, it did. After Devon’s denial of help, Cathleen is hurt, feeling desperate. But she won’t beg. As she is leaving, Devon asks Cathleen her full name. When she gives it to him, Devon is speechless because Cathleen is Thomas Selton’s widow!
After that Devon had no other compunctions in asking for her hand. He didn’t really see it as a ‘duty’. He wanted her without a doubt, and this felt like the right thing to do. Lucien is shell shocked by the offer of marriage and really unhappy, so is Martha. Devon savors this reaction from them. Cathleen is also shocked but accepts Devon’s offer of marriage even before her mind could process what’s happening. She later thinks this is for the best; even though this won’t be a love marriage like her first, she’ll have all kinds of support she needs. Someday, she may even come to love Devon.
Cathleen is welcomed by Devon’s sister Elizabeth, though his mother, as usual, denies accepting this marriage. Devon now has a new guilt, of not telling Cathleen about Thomas. He’s scared of losing her, of seeing hatred in her eyes. I felt for him, poor guy. They journey to Devon’s country estate to get married ASAP. The first few days of their marriage goes rather well. Both are very happy because they found that they get along much better than any of them ever though. And they like being with each-other, making love, talking etc. Cathleen could see the kindness in Devon, and the fact that he genuinely cares for her. And as I saw it, Devon was more than halfway in love with her.
In London, Martha is planning and controlling Lucien (as she always does) to do something drastic and rob Cathleen off of her happiness... Not surprising, considering I knew they’d make further trouble.
The trust issue does become a little frustrating at the later point of the story. Devon didn’t like it if Cathleen was being a little discrete about something, and he’d go and think she might be plotting behind his back with her brother and SIL, when he knew deep inside Cathleen is not like them at all. I’m glad that the author didn’t drag this on though. I hate it when there are such grave misunderstandings in the plotline and the characters suffer in misery because of that.
When the truth of Thomas is finally revealed, Cathleen is incensed. I can sympathize with her on the point that Devon should’ve told her before marriage. But it was also apparent that she wouldn’t have married him if she knew already knew. Devon would’ve told her, really... I loved the way he so calmly explains to her - ‘when the past wouldn’t matter to them anymore.’ Weird was how one moment she was contemplating leaving Devon even after their talk, couldn’t stand to be near him but on the next, coming to the realization that she loves him enough to forgive him. And et voila, she’s not angry at him anymore! This didn’t feel right to me, just how soon she flipped from anger to recognition in their journey home from a ball.
So overall, I felt that this should’ve been a full-length novel, or at the least, a few more chapters. I would’ve loved a little more exploration of Cathleen and Devon’s relationship. Then it certainly wouldn’t feel so rushed. 3.75 stars.
This ARC was provided to me by Carina Press via netgalley which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.