Love Is Blind by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was my first book by Lynsay Sands and it was really good. My sister loves her books and had urged me to read one of them for ages, but I only caved in yesterday. Now I'm wondering why I didn't pay attention to her sooner.
Lady Clarissa Crambray is extremely nearsighted and "blind as a bat" without her spectacles, but her stepmother Lydia has forbidden her to wear them - in fact, she has broken them and thrown them away to prevent Clarissa from disobeying her. Lydia is trying to get Clarissa married off this Season and believes no gentleman will look at Clarissa twice if she's wearing those ugly spectacles, but this silly "scheme" isn't really working. Without being able to see anything but blurry colors and shapes, Clarissa has one graceless accident after another and is soon nicknamed "Clumsy Clarissa" by the ton. Clarissa is a pretty and wealthy lady, but her "clumsiness" has sent most of her suitors away. Nonetheless, Lydia still refuses to allow Clarissa to wear spectacles, arguing that "being clumsy is better than being ugly". Okay, if she says so...
Adrian Montfort, the Earl of Mowbray, is back to London after a ten-year self-imposed exile in the country, where he's been "hiding" from the ton since he came back wounded and scarred from the Peninsular War. He's very self-conscious about the scar he has on his face and doesn't believe any woman will have him as husband because of it - silly, silly man! -, but he knows it's time he did his duty and found a wife, so here he is in London, enduring the Season and the marriage market. He meets Clarissa in one of the ton's balls and, lucky for him, she can't see his face, his scar, or anything else for that matter...
Even though Clarissa's "blindness" is very attractive to Adrian, he quickly grows to like her for who she is and enjoys spending time with her. She also appreciates his company and the way she doesn't feel clumsy around him. But as they start falling in love with each other, doubt arises. She can't remain spectacles-less forever, can she? Adrian is sure she's going to run away screaming when she finally sees his "horrible" scar, while Clarissa is afraid he's going to be disgusted by the sight of her in her "ugly" spectacles. So each tries to buy time in his/her own way - Adrian delaying the purchase of new spectacles for her and Clarissa hiding the fact that she's already purchased them - while working to make the other fall in love. After all, love is blind.
In the meantime, it looks like there's someone out there trying to harm Clarissa. When she's almost killed in a suspicious "accident", Adrian hires an "investigator" to find out who's after her. Considering Lydia's dislike of her stepdaughter, she's Adrian's prime (and favorite) suspect, but is she that evil? And is the killer really after Clarissa, or is he/she indirectly after Adrian?
This was a charming and funny story that kept me captivated right from the start. When Clarissa set one of her suitor's wig on fire in the opening scene, I couldn't help laughing out loud - which immediately prompted my sister to say, "Ha! What have I been telling you all these years?" Anyway, my sister's teasing aside, I knew then that this was going to be a humorous read and I got myself ready to enjoy it. There were several funny moments in this book, but my favorite were the ones regarding Clarissa's wedding night, her "pie" and Adrian's "truncheon". "Her mind was filled with the image of the truncheon smashing into the pie, and the red juice spilling out." LOL, what a way to explain what happens on the wedding night to an innocent woman!
Adrian and Clarissa were very likable characters, and I really rooted for their HEA. Their interactions were sometimes sweet and sometimes hilarious, and they had great chemistry together. Aidan was caring, sensitive, and I loved the small things he did for her (like reading to her and arranging a private picnic for her) to compensate for the restraints imposed by her temporary "blindness", but he could have given up on the idea of delaying the purchase of new spectacles for her a bit sooner that he did. That was selfish of him, and he lost some points with me for that. As for Clarissa, she was adorable but too naive and soft-hearted. Normally, that wouldn't be necessarily a flaw, but it ended up being one due to a particular event that I can't reveal here. Suffice it to say that I wasn't happy with the way she dealt with the situation.
As for the secondary plot, the mystery regarding the attempts on Clarissa's life, it was interesting but the culprit and his/her motive were easy to guess. As I wasn't reading this book to get my "romantic suspense fix", I wasn't bothered by that. The romance was well written and Adrian and Clarissa made me smile and sigh, so I was more than happy with this book. I will definitely read more books by Ms. Sands!
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