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I'm a big fan of Sabrina Darby and enjoyed her novellas, and, like many of her fans, I kept wondering how her voice and vision would translate in a longer format. When Lord of Regrets was announced (and released), I was very excited to read it. While I had some problems with how the plot is structured (and resolved), I have to say that all the qualities I loved about Sabrina Darby's novellas are also found in Lord of Regrets, and then some.
Marcus and Natasha begin the story as lovers, but, their arrangement becomes upended when Natasha discovers she is pregnant and Marcus panics and commands Natasha to get rid of the baby. It's a reaction that Marcus deeply regrets immediately after, but he never gets the chance to apologise because Natasha disappears that same night.
I thought that this story starts at a very interesting point in a relationship -- often we read about how relationships begin and blossom, and very rarely do we see the dissolution of an affair. I can sympathise with Natasha and understand the fear that drove her to run away from Marcus: she was young, unmarried, and pregnant -- and her lover has refused to support her, and has, actually, threatened to have her pregnancy terminated.
Marcus's reaction, while extreme, is also explained very well in the story: he and his family are beholden to his manipulative and controlling grandfather, who has put in codicils in Marcus's inheritance. One misstep from Marcus could mean a devastating financial blow -- not just to him, but his entire family. With so much to lose, Marcus blindly lashes out at Natasha -- setting into motion the heartbreaking series of events: Natasha disappears, and it takes Marcus five years to find her (and his daughter).
Marcus expected some anger from Natasha, but he also expected her to get over it and then they could pick up where they left off -- but Natasha isn't the same adoring, trusting young girl any more: she's five years older and wiser. She's also discovered that she's in control of her life, and refuses to surrender that control over to Marcus. Sabrina Darby highlights the internal struggle that happens when what the heart wants and what the mind believes are in conflict. (Read Chapter 13) Natasha still loves Marcus, and knows that Marcus still loves her -- but she can't trust him anymore. What if another unplanned event occurs? Will he lash out at her again? Will she have to run away again? It's a difficult situation for her to be in, and made even more complicated because of her daughter -- who has the right to know her parentage.
I love you.
The three words still ricocheted in her body. She was foolish. She was vulnerable.
And she wanted to believe.
- Chapter 8
What happens when Marcus finds Natasha again is a lesson in action and reaction -- how one drop of water can cause an infinite number of ripples in life. Marcus discovers Natasha's depths and appreciates how fiercely she guards her daughter, and how fiercely she guards her heart. There is no "picking up where they left off" -- Marcus realises, and he believes that starting fresh and starting new would be a good alternative for them ... but even that plan backfires a little bit.
Different. Natasha was different now; he knew that. She'd had to survive on her own, create a new identity and a new life. Yet those changes were merely the delicate hewing of life -- the marble a sculptor chisels away to create a masterpiece, the platonic ideal waiting to be discovered.
- Chapter 4
Here's the part of the plot that confuses me a bit: at the highest emotional point of the story, when Natasha expresses all the fear, anger,and resentment that she's kept inside her (read Chapter 20), Marcus decides to leave for a diplomatic mission to France. I would've wanted him to stay and work things out with Natasha. I would've wanted him to fight out it with her ... Instead, he disappears, leaving Natasha to sort so many things out on her own:
1. It is discoversed that Natasha was Marcus's former mistress.
2. It is discovered that they have an illegitimate child.
3. Marcus's grandfather manipulates Natasha into "spying" for him.
It is the introduction of the spy element that threw me a bit off kilter. The story already worked so well without it, and what it does is take focus away from the heart of the story. Marcus in France (and the late introduction of a half-sibling -- read Chapter 27) also felt extraneous. Instead of helping resolve their situation, it complicated things even further. Granted, it does allow Marcus to make a grand gesture of selflessness (read Chapter 29) -- I still would have loved to see our hero and heroine work things out together, rather than apart.
Lord of Regrets is a very dramatic and emotional read. I'm so glad to see Sabrina Darby writing full-length novels, and look forward to reading more from her. To find our more about Sabrina Darby and her books, click below: