Review: Sweet Madness by Heather Snow

Posted April 5, 2013 by Una in 4 stars, Historical Romance, Rating A Tags: , , ,

Sweet Madness
Author: Heather Snow 
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Signet
A Veiled Seduction #3
ISBN: #978-0451239679
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
An Untamed Mind
Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has committed herself to studying the maladies of the mind, particularly treating traumatized soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars. It is this expertise that brings the Marquess of Bromwich’s family to her door.
Gabriel Devereaux’s unexpected and unpredictable episodes are unlike any Penelope has studied. The once proud soldier has been left shaken and withdrawn, but she manages to build a fragile trust between them. Strangely, Gabriel seems completely lucid when not in the grips of his mania, and in the calm between bouts, she is surprised by how much she is drawn to him.
Despite his own growing feelings, Gabriel knows that he is fit for no one, and is determined to keep Penelope away from his descent into madness. But even though she knows firsthand the folly of loving a broken man, Penelope cannot stop herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost.
What Una is talking about:
Sweet Madness is the third book in the Veiled Seductions series and stands out from the previous two.  Our heroine, Penelope is very different from the previous two, Liliana and Emma.  Penelope is not an intellectual genius.  That being said, she is just as determined and the other two and just as entertaining.
What caught my eye in the Veiled Seduction series is that the heroines are strong willed and brilliant women living in a time where those qualities are not respected or desired.  I loved watching them meet their match in the heroes of the previous novels.  Maybe it is also a strange pleasure, but I enjoyed the reactions of those around them as they pursued their “odd” exploits.  However, Sweet Madness is very different from the first two novels.  Penelope is not an intellectual.  She was raised to be a society lady and did quite well in marrying a man with title and money.  However, that path did not work out well for her.  She finds herself after a couple years of marriage, widowed.  But through the experience she strives to help others, soldiers who are suffering battle fatigue (what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder).  
Gabriel was a soldier who met and loved Penelope from the first time he saw her.  Unfortunately it was at his cousin’s wedding, where he was married to Penelope.  However, meeting Penelope gave Gabriel the courage to try to find a slice of happiness for him and fight the darkness within.  However, that did not go as planned for him either.  Gabriel is secured within sanitarium, enduring treatments (more akin to torture) for his mental illness.  He suffers from maniac episodes that come without warning and are appearing to escalate.  Gabriel’s mother sends Penelope to him in hopes that she can cure or at least ease his illness so that he may return home.
The story of Gabriel and Penelope in Sweet Madness is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.  Penelope is extremely intuitive and her ability to emotionally reach out and help those suffering from mental illness is amazing.  Her drive to help other is strong and overpowering.  When she and Gabriel meet, it is like kismet.  Following their path as they reach a happily ever after was passionate, nerve wracking, and frightening.  While Gabriel faces his fears in order to overcome his battle fatigue, we learn about some real experiences of war.  But within that pain he finds freedom and a chance at life in the light.  
I continue to thoroughly enjoy the Veiled Seductions series.  If you haven’t started it, I encourage you to do so.  Sweet Madness was an excellent third book and a wonderful contrast to the previous two novels.  I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.
Unas Rating:
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)

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