The Stranger I Married
Author: Sylvia Day
Published: August 28, 2012 (orig pub Jan 1, 2007)
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Publisher (Brava)
Reviewed by: Marq
Favorite quote: "I do not require your assistance to find sex. I require you. I want messy. And sweaty and dirty. God give me strength, for I have been cursed with wanting that from my wife."
summary from Goodreads
Lady Pelham could not have designed a husband more suited to her needs. The Marquess of Grayson is a dear and enchanting friend and an unrepentant ladies’ man. Their union is solid; their hearts safe from one another. But every marriage has its surprises…
THEY WERE TOGETHER FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS…
They are London’s most scandalous couple. Isabel, Lady Pelham, and Gerard Faulkner, Marquess of Grayson, are well matched in all things–their lusty appetites, constant paramours, wicked wits, provocative reputations, and their absolute refusal ever to ruin their marriage of convenience by falling in love with one another. Isabel knows such a charming rake will never appeal to her guarded heart, nor will she sway his philandering one. It is a most agreeable sham…until a shocking turn of events sends Gerard from her side.
Now, four years later, Gerard has come home to Isabel. But the carefree, boyish rogue who left has been replaced by a brooding, powerful, irresistible man who is determined to seduce his way into her affections. Gone is the devil-may-care companion who shared her friendship and nothing more, and in his place is temptation itself…a husband who desires Isabel body and soul and who will stop at nothing to win her love. No, this is not at all the man she had married. But he is the man who might finally steal her heart…
I am a huge fan of Sylvia Day's historical romances and thoroughly enjoyed The Stranger I Married.
Gray and Isabel get married for all the wrong reasons. Well, in the beginning for them it was for the right reasons. Gray doesn't want to be married so he thinks the best way to please society and his mother is to marry Lady Pelham. Isabel is widowed and her affairs are known. Isabel doesn't want to remarry having been burned by her first marriage. She agrees to Gray's scheme thinking that they can have the best of both worlds. She will be married to her dear friend and she can keep having her affairs. A perfect set up until Gray leaves her after two days of marriage and returns four years later, wanted a real marriage with his wife.
I loved the push and pull relationship between Gray and (Pel) Isabel. Gray is an extremely likable character. He is determined to do whatever it takes to convince Pel that their marriage should not be in name only. During the four years he was gone, Gray took stock of his life, realizing how selfish and immature he was. A more mature and self-aware Gray is hard to resist but Pel fights a good fight.
The Stranger I Married is full of great dialog, chemistry and smoking hot sex scenes. I enjoyed watching Gray pursue his wife and try to convince her that his commitment to their marriage is real. There's also a great side story involving Pel's brother, Rhys, and his infatuation with an American heiress. I enjoyed his story as well and it did not detract from Gray and Pel's romance. I would say that my only complaint is that we are only given vague information about Gray's whereabouts during his 4 year absence. I would have liked to know more about what he did and how he matured. But other than that, I loved the book.
The Stranger I Married is a wonderful steamy romance with wonderful characters and a great plot about a husband trying to win over his wife.