Series: Fallen Angels #7
on orig. published June 1, 1998
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Kindle or ebook
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Also by this author: Sometimes a Rogue, Not Quite a Wife, Not Always a Saint, The Last Chance Christmas Ball, Once a Soldier, Seduction On a Snowy Night, Silver Lady
Can a woman with a past and a man with no future find lasting love?
Stephen Kenyon, Duke of Ashburton, has always taken the duties of his rank seriously - until a doctor's grim diagnosis sends him running from his world of privilege. Traveling incognito, he yearns to experience life to the fullest in what time he has left.
When Stephen rescues a drowning child, he is drawn into the warm embrace of the Fitzgeralds, a family theatrical troupe brimming with laughter and affection. And their enchanting, compassionate daughter, Rosalind Jordan, stirs emotions he's never known before.
Widowed young, Rosalind is happy organizing her exuberant, close-knit family. She doesn't expect to fall in love with a quiet stranger, whose wit and kindness speak to her heart. When Stephen tells Rosalind the truth of his condition and proposes marriage, she accepts despite the shadow of inevitable loss.
Together, they find profound passion and companionship. Yet neither dares speak of love, for only a miracle will give them the future they desperately desire....
Six months to live…and love
When Stephen Kenyon, the Duke of Ashburton, learns he has only months to live, he runs away. Leaving the title and the responsibilities of the dukedom behind (the latter in the capable hands of his steward and his lawyer), he sets off to travel as an ordinary gentleman. Within weeks, he finds himself enmeshed in the Fitzgerald theater troupe… and deeply attracted to Rose Jordan, the Fitzgeralds’ adopted eldest daughter, a young widow with a warm and compassionate heart. But his illness is progressing, and Stephen knows he cannot offer her forever.
One Perfect Rose has always been one of my favorite Fallen Angels novels, in part perhaps because of the theatrical Fitzgerald family. As a Shakespeare lover and theater geek, I find them delightful and endearing, and I thoroughly enjoy the descriptions of rehearsals and performances—particularly of plays I have performed in myself. When Stephen and Rosalind play the roles of Theseus and Hyppolyta, for instance, I know those lines, and can imagine myself in their place.
But I also love the spiritual journey that Stephen takes in the book, as he comes to terms with his mortality. (Perhaps that speaks even more to me now that I’m in my early 60s instead of my late 30s/early 40s, as I was when I first read it.) Always a good man, but reserved and detached, he learns to embrace life even as he is leaving it. And eventually, he discovers the faith that has eluded him all his life. As for Rosalind, I love her gentle wit, her warmth and generosity, and the vulnerabilities she hides so well, though I now find the revelation of her heritage a little cliched and unnecessary.
Of course, this is a romance, not a tragedy. Rest assured that everything works out in the end.
Although this is book #7 in the Fallen Angels series, you don’t have to have read any of the previous novels to appreciate One Perfect Rose. However, it might help to first read Shattered Rainbows, the story of Stephen’s younger brother Michael and Catherine, now Michael’s wife. Both appear here as important secondary characters. Some knowledge of their background will enrich your understanding of the relationship between Stephen and Michael.
I bumped One Perfect Rose from a 4.5 to a 5 because I continue to reread it and love it over the years.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Upside-Down 2023: Chapter 2