REVIEW: When Love is Blind by Mary Burchell
Dreams have been dashed…
Antoinette Burney, a more than promising music student, is disappointed and furious when the famous concert pianist Lewis Freemont fails her in an exam. To make matters worse, he tells her forthrightly that she will never make the grade as a professional pianist. Her hopes and dreams of success and notoriety are all destroyed in a single blow. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to forgive him.
But it would seem that fate has other ideas and the tables are quickly turned, making Antoinette the innocent cause of the accident that, in destroying Lewis Freemont’s sight, destroys his career as well. Subdued by his debilitating condition and the knowledge that he will never play the piano again, Lewis quickly becomes a shell of his former self. Horrified and remorseful, when Antoinette gets a chance to make some sort of amends — by becoming Lewis’s secretary — she seizes it with both hands.
Just when she thought life couldn’t get any more complicated, Antoinette soon finds herself falling in love with the man that only a few weeks ago, she despised. But what will Lewis do when, as inevitably he must, he discovers who she really is?
Full of hope and broken dreams, When Love is Blind is a heartfelt tale about never giving up.
This is book three of the Warrender Saga series and again focuses on musicians and music as well as a boss and secretary. Burchell had her tropes.
Antoinette might have faultless technique since childhood but, as Lewis Freemont – the avenging angel of the keyboard – devastatingly tells her, she hasn’t the artistic soul to transport listeners as she would if she could be the conduit between them and the composer. ::slashing discords::
In this book the Shoot Him Now hero is Lewis Freemont who will have the role of the (romantically) disabled. Meanwhile Antoinette is eaten through with guilt at the role she played in the accident which blinded him due to damage to the optic nerve. As his personal secretary, Antoinette will answer his correspondence and, as urged on her by Lewis’s manager, nudge him back towards music especially performing it.
One thing Antoinette discovers is that she is not unknown to Freemont. Or rather he remembers a student whose playing he savaged at a musical examination and who he subsequently repeatedly saw stalking him at his performances before the day of his car crash when it was she whom he saw in the road near his house and swerved to avoid. If he ever finds her, he bitterly and forcefully declares, he’ll get his revenge. ::melodramatic music::
Of course soon “Toni” has become important to Lewis with her tactful and persistent efforts to be of use to him in his recovery as some form of atonement for what she caused. Initially there is no feeling of any romantic nature and with only the intention of being helpful, Antoinette slips into the first outright lie to her employer as he attempts to learn the name of the girl he holds responsible for his injury. By doing so, she also hands a weapon to the coolly manipulative Other Woman who has her future life with Lewis already planned and who will not allow Antoinette to usurp her place. Antoinette’s efforts to musically assist Lewis then put her in the sights of the great Oscar Warrender. The fat is in the fire now. ::ominous music::
Burchell used certain tropes regularly as well as inserting a few pertinent to a particular book. Here we have an annoying health related one which, as annoying as it is, must happen once in awhile. There’s also “the show must go on” which here throws even the great man Oscar Warrender himself. Read my review of “A Song Begins” to see why Burchell’s sly twist on it here is so amusing. Of course at this point of the book, the ticking count down to major revelations has already begun but I was on the edge of my seat to see how it would play out – forgive the pun. I’ve also started looking for those little moments from Oscar Warrender in each book which prove he isn’t the total cold hearted conducting bastard who makes grown performers weep.
The finale waits on an emotional thread twisted tighter and tighter as the information that will forever change Antoinette and Lewis’s relationship is drawn out. I’m almost happy that the scene arrives with an unexpected crescendo – as melodramatic as the dialog and action is – as the tension was killing me. Since the final chapter had already primed me, the subdued – this is England after all – but heartfelt ending was very satisfying. The disability aspect in this book is more upfront than in “The Broken Wing” and readers will have to place themselves back in an era when disabilities were openly pitied and seen as a source of dismay but the romance of this book ends up working better for me mainly due to Lewis’s reaction to the deception. And I’ll leave readers to discover that for themselves. ::soaring finale:: B