At the tender age of 7 Sterling Harlow is sold to his ogre of an uncle, the Duke of Devonbrooke and made his heir. For the remainder of his childhood he never wanted for "things" but never again felt the love of his mother. The result being he, as an adult, became as cold hearted as the man who raised him. At 28 he has spent 10 years fighting in France, has been the 7th Duke of Devonbrooke for 6 years and has returned home to due his duty to his title by marrying and setting up his nursery. Before he begins his search he learns of his mother's death. He also learns that she has for the past several years provided a home for 3 orphans of the village. He goes to Arden Manor to find "situations" for the 3 young people and to take Arden Manor.
On his way to Arden Manor he is thrown from his horse and is knocked unconscious. He is found by Laura Fairleigh. Laura is one of the orphans his mother had taken in. She finds Sterling and takes him to Arden Manor and nurses back to health. The one thing for him she cannot do is bring his memory back. He has no idea who he is.Laura does not know who he is either and as she needs to marry by her 21st birthday(3 weeks away) to keep Ardon Manor she tells Sterling that he is her fiance and begins to make wedding plans. Just minutes after their wedding he learns that he is really Sterling Harlow, Duke of Devonbrooke and he has just married very much below his station. He does not let a bogus marriage keep him from his wedding night though and he awakes the next morning to surprise all in the manor by proposing marriage to Laura. He packs her up and take her to London, installs her in his townhouse, and except for their nights together he ignores her.
Laura knows that his mother died having never seen her son again and that Sterling blames his mother who loved him and not his father whose gambling caused the break up of his family. She finds all the letters his mother wrote to him and that he stashed in a drawer unopened.She confronts him with this information and then leaves him for Ardon Manor taking with her his unborn heir.
Sterling must now read the letters and forgive himself for his treatment of his mother and figure out how to win Laura back and how to admit to her that he has loved her all along.
This report prepared by plnorth
Bantam, Jul 2001, 21.95, 324 pp.
Sterling Harlow is excited to see the splendid coach pull up by his house. He is even more ecstatic over meeting a duke for the first time as his Uncle Granville Harlow of Devonbrooke has come to visit. However, Sterling's elation turns to anguish when he learns that his father has sold him to his uncle, who names the lad his heir.
Years later, Sterling is now the duke, but he cares little about anything more than being a rake. When he learns that his mother died leaving a will that contains a stipulation for three orphaned children, Sterling travels home for the first time since he was sold. He plans to kick Lady Laura Fairleigh and her two younger siblings out of his home. However, on the way he suffers a horse spill and is knocked out cold. Laura finds him and cannot resist kissing the sleeping beauty. When he awakens, Sterling has no memories so Laura feeds him one that will keep the three Fairleighs under a roof. After Laura and Sterling marry, he regains his memory only to find he loves the woman who sold her soul like his parents once did him.
A KISS TO REMEMBER is a delightful historical romance that uses two common devices (amnesia and a will) to forward the bender gender Sleeping Beauty plot. Under a lesser talent than Teresa Medeiros (see THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST), this story line would have been trite. However, the wonderful writer makes the tale seem fresh and humorous with intriguing characters that turn this novel into a Fairleigh fine time for sub-genre fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner