Seven years and countless dreams later, he returned to her, and love was born with a dance, a minuet that stirred her soul, a song so passionate it has no words...
We first met Emily and Ashley in Heartless, she is Anna's youngest sister and he is Luke's younger brother. Emily is deaf mute, in Heartless she knew a lot of things but had trouble expressing herself. She felt quite at ease with Ashley and hero worshipped him. She was naturally devastated when he decided to grow up a bit and travel the world.
A few years have passed between the end of Heartless and the beginning of Silent Melody. Anna and Luke are happily married and Emily lives with them. Luke has tried to offer her the same opportunities other young girls have and so she has had some suitors and is now thinking of accepting an offer from one of them.
Ashley has been in India, he got married and had a son there. Now he has returned to England and his arrival coincides with the ball announcing Emily's engagement. Ashley's past has made him a bitter and unhappy man. It is not easy for him to speak about what happened in his life but he and Emily still share a special bond. Feeling his pain she tries to help and that leads them to an intimate moment who seems more about comfort than love. Because of that Emily refuses to marry him, she knows he still sees her has the young girl he left behind.
Ashley will have to deal with his demons and to see Emily in a new light for them to find a HEA and the journey towards that is a memorable one. I think Balogh did a superb job portraying Emily's disability, she is never a lesser character because of it, she doesn't have special treatment and in fact she doesn't feel less than the others. The only thing I didn't much care about was the villain. I would have been quite happy just to have Emily and Ashley dealing with their feelings and, of course, to see how well Luke and Anna work as a couple a few years after they had their own story.
PS. Balogh has an old book being reissued this month, it's called A Christmas Promise and I haven't read it yet. It might be just the thing to get me in the right mood for the holidays...