Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover:
Lorenna Fields always taken her job at Chicago's Mercy Hospital seriously, determined never to becomes personally involved with her patients. But when a mysterious man with eyes like onyx is admitted after a shipwreck on Lake Michigan, she develops a connection with him that she can't deny.
Slowly her patient regains consciousness, but to Renna's dismay he has lost both his sight and his memory. Dubbed "Mr. Blackeyes" by her, the two build a strong, trusting friendship as they search for clues to his past. But part of her dreads the day of his recovery, convinced that his memories will take him away from her and his regained sight will reveal a secret about herself that Renna has been trying hard to hide.
Unexpected Love is a historical romance (with the emphasis on the romance) set in 1866 in Chicago and Milwaukee. This book is the third in the series, but you can understand it even if you haven't read the previous novels. However, the main characters in the second novel play a large role in this novel, and the male lead in this novel was a main character in the previous novel, so this novel does "spoil" the previous one.
The romance was predictable; I never doubted they'd get together and it hit all the common beats. However, the "romance novel misunderstanding" was nicely set up and more realistic than most: Renna couldn't believe that a 'playboy' rich man who could have any woman he wanted would be interested in a middle class girl like her who had an ugly birthmark on her cheek. "Mr. Blackeyes" was drawn to her earnest personality but felt that he had to lie to soothe her fears or he'd lose his chance to get to know her better. But the lie becomes increasingly difficult to keep up.
There was a nice level of historical detail about the setting and everyday life woven into the story, but it's not as heavy on these details as some historical romances. The suspense was created by the relationship tensions, some physical danger, and some uncertainty about "Mr. Blackeyes" being able to resume his life after being thought dead for several months.
Many of the characters were Christians. Several Bible verses were quoted. The characters did get a bit preachy at each other at times, but it was in-character and flowed naturally.
There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel to those who like heart-warming romances.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Chicago, Illinois, September 4, 1866
"Do you think he'll live, Dr. Hamilton?"
The gray-haired man with bushy whiskers pondered the question for several moments, chewing on his thick lips as he weighed his reply. "Yes, I think he will," he finally said. "Of course, he's not out of the woods yet, but it seems he's coming around."
Lorenna Fields breathed a sigh of relief. It had been two whole days with nary a sign of life from this half-drowned man, but finally--finally--he showed signs of improvement.
"You've done a good job with this patient, Nurse Fields." The physician drew himself up to his full height, which barely met Renna's five feet six inches. "I don't think he'd be alive today if you hadn't given him such extraordinary care."
"Thank you, Dr. Hamilton, but it was the Lord who spared this man and the Lord who gave me the strength and skill to nurse him"
The old physician snorted in disgust. "Yes, well, it might have had something to do with the fact that you've got a brain in your head, Nurse Fields, and the fact that you used it too, I might add!"
Read more from chapter one.