The Escape

Written by Mary Balogh
Review by Nancy Henshaw

This is a Regency romance with a difference: Samantha McKay nursed her war-wounded husband for years. As a widow she was too exhausted to resist the joyless regime imposed by her in-laws. If she could escape, she might find a home – a cottage, hers by inheritance on the far away southwest coast of Wales – an impossible dream. Napoleon has been defeated, and Major Sir Benedict Harper knows he is luckier than many victims of modern warfare. He can walk, after a fashion, but after six years of pain and struggle, he must accept that he is a cripple. The Army had been his life, but now he must decide what to do with the remaining years. An encounter with a seldom-seen widow – a dark beauty – gives Benedict the chance to prove he is a capable protector for the woman and her only true friend, Tramp, a boisterous, deplorable mongrel. Their flight to Wales is a journey of discovery for two damaged people, and with their arrival at the cottage, it becomes idyllic: a charming stone house with a beach no one else uses. But Samantha must face a meeting she dreads with the man who callously ignored her mother for so many years. Wealthy mine owner and ironmaster Bevan is Samantha’s grandfather. Many misunderstandings remain to be resolved. Meanwhile, in their own enchanted world, the two ingenious lovers together learn that Benedict’s disability, far from being an impediment, may even enhance their lovemaking.

The novel has a leisurely pace and descriptions that will make readers long to be there enjoying Mrs Price’s delectable all-Welsh meals. But what makes this story special is Samantha’s rare quality of compassion along with her love and admiration for Benedict.