Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Review: Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

My Review

I absolutely loved the moody North and South vibe in this book! Isabelle struggles with the realities of her new circumstances, especially the landscape and the loneliness. I liked seeing the character growth in her as she handles obstacle after obstacle, and I wished to be able to know the thoughts of Alexander as he faces his own unexpected trials. I found it beautiful the way they were able to finally connect as they traveled their new road together. Their roles of caretaker and "invalid" made their relationship more difficult, but also gave them the opportunity to breach their defenses and come to really know each other and deepen their love. I liked the friends Isabelle made along the way and felt that they rounded out the story and added even more depth. Although I didn't feel the emotional connection to the characters like I had hoped, I enjoyed the story and the details. 

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

About the Author

Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel.

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids. 

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