Madeleine Sutter was once the belle of the ball at the popular resort town of Misty Lake, New York. But as the sole survivor of the community’s worst tragedy, she’s come under suspicion. Longing for the life she once enjoyed, she accepts a rare social invitation to the event of the season. Now she will be able to show everyone she’s the same woman they’d always admired—with just one hidden exception: she awoke from the accident with the ability to heal.
Doctor Jace Merrick has fled the failures and futility of city life to start anew in rural Misty Lake. A man of science, he rejects the superstitious chatter surrounding Maddie and finds himself drawn to her confidence and beauty. And when she seduces him into a sham engagement, he agrees to be her ticket back into society, if she supports his new practice—and reveals the details of her remarkable recovery. But when his patients begin to heal miraculously, Jace may have to abandon logic, accept the inexplicable—and surrender to a love beyond reason…
Mr. Piedmont worked swiftly, the sound of crumpling paper filling the awkward silence as he wrapped her purchases and bound the tidy parcel with string. By rote, his freckled hand reached to the nearby jar of candy. Placing a single peppermint stick on top of the bundle, he slid it toward her, then turned to face the shelves lining the wall behind him.
Tears blurred Maddie’s vision as she stared down at the red-striped treat, the simple reminder of who she once was—who she still was, if only one of her neighbors could manage to look her in the eye long enough to see it. She swallowed hard.
“Thank you,” she murmured to the shopkeeper’s back before he walked away.
Maddie left the store and proceeded to her final errand. As she’d anticipated, a letter from Amelia awaited her at the post office. Maddie would wait until later to open it. Their recent correspondence had rattled her to the bone, and she knew any public display of emotion would be ripe fruit for hungry local gossips.
Not that maintaining decorum could help her cause now. People already believed the worst about her. These rare trips to town only served to remind her that nothing had changed.
Shoving the letter into her skirt pocket, she headed south on Main Street. To her relief, the band of young hooligans that had taunted her earlier was nowhere to be seen. She hurried out of town nonetheless. Each dreaded trip was a tax on her nerves, and when added to the anxiety of what awaited in Amelia’s letter, Maddie yearned for the comfort of home.
When she reached the outskirts of town, she took the path through the woods that opened to a large field. She welcomed the sound of chirping crickets and birds. As always after she exerted herself with a lengthy walk, her leg was beginning to ache. She slowed her pace, then stopped to rest at her favorite spot on her grandfather’s sprawling property. Sitting on a felled birch log in the broad clearing, she stretched out her leg. The cramped muscles unfurled as she enjoyed the serenity of the surrounding forest, the gentle spring breeze through the swaying trees. The sun felt heavenly, and she lifted her face to bask in its glow.
She’d avoided town all winter, hibernating like a bear in a cave. She’d emerged from seclusion renewed by foolish hopes, but the first outing of the new season had been just like the last. A bear would be better received.
Maddie sighed in defeat, dug out the letter that was fairly vibrating in her pocket, and unfolded its pages. The bold strokes on the delicate cream sheets conveyed Amelia’s confident tone and dramatic style.
My dearest Mads,
I received your response denying my request, but I refuse to take no for an answer. I simply cannot get married without you!
You swore an oath to one day serve as my bridesmaid, and it is time for you to honor it. My deep love and concern for you force me to hold you to your promise.
The past is the past, my dear friend, and you must lay it to rest. Eventually, the town will follow suit. Consider attending my wedding as your first step toward getting on with your life.
We arrive in Misty Lake in three weeks. I look forward to seeing you then.
Maddie’s breakfast turned in her stomach. How on earth could she attend? No one, save Amelia, wanted her there. Certainly not Daniel. The mere thought of facing her former fiancé and all the others who’d blamed and abandoned her…no. Maddie hadn’t the courage. Amelia didn’t understand. How could she? She was not present when it happened. Nor was she here for the aftermath.
I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
You typically expect doctors to be Mary Stus in fiction (assuming they aren’t the evil villain), but this one is something of a cad and a rake. Jace is also more than a bit of a know-it-all ass. Maddie on the other hand, it is hard to get a handle on her, all puffing, preening, flirtation one minute, soundly grounded and reasonable the next, and flighty as all hell the next one.
But, as we see just how the townspeople have treated Maddie, and how she bears up under it and faces down her fears, you can’t help but learn to like her. She learns to truly live again and we watch her blossom on the page, and it is HER doing, not the love of nay man or the regard of any other person. Frankly I don’t think anyone else besides her grandfather (and their two servants-who aren’t really fleshed out) and Dolly (a minor character) are worth anything at all. And that includes the supposed hero and her best friend.
Frankly I liked her best friend Amelia until she single handedly managed to ruin almost everything there at the end and then blithely went on about her life. And while there was some degree of chemistry between Jace and Maddie, I didn’t really warm up to him until the very end at all.
For all that though, I liked Maddie so well, and enjoyed her journey so much that it bumped up my rating tremendously. I was also interested in the events of the town and how things would resolve. And I am especially hoping that as this series plays out that we get to see Dolly’s happily ever after.
But don’t read this expecting some epic love story, or a woman who gets rescued by the love of a man, because in this case it is almost like the classic video game situation only in reverse. Jace is the princess in the tower with no agency, and he is Maddie’s prize in the end for completing her quest. But for readers who like that sort of thing, of which I am one, I heartily recommend this book.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/10/the-lady-who-lived-again-sole-survivor.html
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/151338-soul-survivor
A three-time RWA Golden Heart nominee, Thomasine Rappold writes historical romance and historical romance with paranormal elements. She lives with her husband in a small town in upstate New York that inspired her current series. When she’s not spinning tales of passion and angst, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing on one of the nearby lakes, and basking on the beach in Cape Cod. Thomasine is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Capital Region Romance Writers. Readers can find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @ThomRappold.
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