Grace Burrowes' "The Captive" (#1 in the Captive Hearts series)

The Captive - Grace Burrowes

 

Engaging, well-written story about a man who had been tortured (in many different ways, both physical and psychological) over several months in captivity, and a woman who suffered extreme abuse in her marriage to a much older man. The main characters, Christian Severn, the Duke of Mercia, and Gillian, the widowed Countess of Greendale, are great and I loved them both.  

 

There is also a "suspense" plot, although the villain (the man who betrayed Christian to the enemy) is obvious to the reader almost from the start of the book. The only real mystery is why Christian could not connect the dots himself - I would have thought he had ample motivation and enough information to do so!  This is a glaring weakness in the book. The other weakness is the depiction of Gillian as an abused woman - this didn't work for me. I never got the feeling that she had been injured emotionally by her experiences, except possibly by the betrayal of her parents. But as for her feelings about the marriage and her former husband - this came across to me as extreme annoyance a lot more than shame and pain. Not that I know anything about this type of abuse, but I would think that to fully heal from that type of treatment over 8 long years would take a lot more time and expert, loving care than is depicted in this book. Not that Christian is not loving, but he has so many of his own issues to deal with!