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When a Stranger Loves Me

by Julianne MacLean


Shunned by polite society for an earlier mistake, Lady Chelsea Campion lives in near seclusion on a remote island with her brother, sister-in-law, and conniving mother.  A would-be fiction writer, Chelsea imagines all sorts of romantic scenarios in her written pieces.  One day an unconscious naked man washes ashore on the beach near her home.  When she finds the handsome stranger, he has obvious signs of trauma to his body, including a severe wound in his abdomen and a head injury that caused his current amnesia.  Almost as if she conjured him from one of her stories, Chelsea takes him home and attempts to nurture him back to health, despite her mother’s protestations about the impropriety of such a situation.

Meanwhile, her mother has already made arrangements for Chelsea to marry an older cousin known for his cruelty and displeasing appearance.  This ill-conceived plan by her mother is designed to produce an heir who will keep the money in the family.  Chelsea conceives her own plan, however, which involves producing an heir with the handsome stranger, who seems quite smitten with his lovely caretaker.  All goes according to plan until the stranger overhears their discussion and makes some new plans of his own.

When a Stranger Loves Me delivers on its intriguing premise. The story flows along passionately, with the central characters’ desires building and peaking like the ever-present waves in the ocean near Chelsea’s home.  However, once the stranger learns his true identity, and the story shifts to a different location beyond the island, this easy narrative flow becomes disrupted. The newly introduced characters in the middle of the book lack the depth of the earlier characters, and the story’s loose ends seem to magically tie together at the book’s conclusion, making the highly promising beginning come to a slightly less-than-satisfying ending.

The Book

Avon Books / HarperCollins
February 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Romance - Historical (England, 1874)
More at
NOTE: Sexually Explicit

The Reviewer

Leslie Halpern
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies, Dreams on Film, A Writer's Guide to Fearless Interviews, and the co-author of Connections: A Collection of Poems. Coming Soon: Passionate About Their Work: Celebrities, Artists, and Experts Discuss Creativity.
© 2009