by Josi S. Kilpack
Publisher : Shadow Mountain (November 2, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1629729299
ISBN-13 : 978-1629729299
Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.
Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls’ school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.
Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.
Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?
Hazel is not like the rest of her family. She has a “deformed” foot and was sent away to school because of it. She never developed close relationships with other family members, and she has grown up very independent.
Duncan appears to be on the spectrum. He takes everything you say very literally and is incredibly intelligent in so many areas. He has an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Hazel and Duncan both had very difficult upbringings for very different reasons. They were not considered “normal”, and that’s what I loved about them. I adored them together. They had a very sweet, innocent sort of romance that slowly developed.
I definitely enjoyed the story, but it felt a little slow. I felt like I kept waiting for something else to happen in the story, and it never did.
I love characters who are real and not “perfect”. I also loved that this book didn’t try to fix everything and make it unrealistic. Duncan and Hazel got to be exactly who they were meant to be.