Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

Leo and Bryony got married, he a handsome promising academe young man she a brilliant lady surgeon going against the grain of gently bred women, and got annulled in less than a year. Escaping England, Bryony sailed far away and ended in India as a traveling physician. Now, Leo sought her out to escort her safely back to England at the urgent request of her sister. With the past hovering between them and all the things left unsaid, what things lie on their journey back?

Achingly bittersweet and full of luminous prose, this is the first book I have read of Sherry Thomas. It is a story of second chances in love, of trust and forgiveness, with unforgettable characters. The book starts with the future, a glimpse of it, hardly revealing and then it moves into the present, on that exact moment when Leo and Bryony met again after years of separation.

As the two journey in the frontiers of India, their past is revealed through little flashbacks (short details that won't bore you down for it comes back to their present before you know it) and as the days passed, little things of themselves slowly unfold to each other.

Thomas's way of writing remained with me, with all these rending quotes of life and love, and it is amazing that English isn't even the author's first language. Her ability to stage a historical and social turmoil to push the boundaries of a love relationship showed how layers between people could crush down in an instant and all that's left is the exposed naked truth. The subtle hidden yearnings, the curt quiet remarks, the silences pervading among the pages seemed to move me more than if they were lashing out at each in flares of temper complete with screaming voices.

In the wake of their annulment, the hint of bleakness and melancholy which followed both their lives set the mood of the book in the beginning. Their denied expressions, their veiled pain, it is enough to crush my little heart and so the ending is that much sweeter to me in a piercing way like a fulfilled hopeless heart healing itself. If I but could set aside books that left me dying inside, this book unexpectedly is one of them.

I love that Leo and Bryony is a match to each other in attraction, in character, in accomplishments, in courage and strength in the middle of critical moments. I couldn't help feeling proud of them for being so competent individually. I had the mind to even presume Leo might not make it out to the end because at the rate things are going in their remaining days in India, it could happen and it wouldn't make their love less true or less whole. By then, it is obvious nothing could ever separate them, except death. But I guess the author thought better not to stab further my already aching heart.

I read half of the book tight in tension with a thick lump on my throat. Nearing the end is somewhat a slow release, a good thing methinks, for I would hate it if it was cut in one short burst of happiness then gone. I read it unhurried and contented, a more fitting feeling to end my reading.

Book Summary:
Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn't possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion? (see)

Book Title: Not Quite a Husband
Author: Sherry Thomas
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: 2009
Publisher: Bantam Books
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ ( 5 cups - Do not even think of dissing this book as one of those plain romance story just by its cover. It is more than that. Reading this book feels like coming up for air after being in the water for so long.)