Rating: 4.5 stars
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After losing his parents as a child, Robbie Grayson was taken in by relatives and grew up at the Chester family home in the country. Robbie has always been a bit on the outside, definitely family but still not quite the same as everyone else. Although it is not quite his dream of interior design, Robbie has settled happily into life on the estate, helping his uncle manage the property while the family’s eldest son is away at school and travel.
Then suddenly things are turned upside down when another relative in need is taken in by the Chesters. Charles Worthington broke his leg in a carriage accident and, during the long period of being incapacitated, ended up losing his home and his fortune as well. When Charles arrives roaring drunk and singing bawdy songs, the more quiet Robbie doesn’t know quite what to make of him. But Robbie is intrigued by Charles and reaches out to help him from the start.
When Robbie’s aunt and uncle ask him to look after their wilder relation, Robbie agrees, in part because he always does what he is asked, but also because he is definitely interested in Charles. It is clear that despite Charles’ initial dramatic entrance, he is a good man who has reached a pivotal point in his life, finally realizing his years of living wild were a waste and looking to pull his life together. With Robbie’s help, Charles begins his recovery, and the two men become close friends.
Soon feelings between them are growing but Robbie is determined not to disrespect his conservative uncle by acting upon them. Yet he is drawn by Charles and the two men are falling hard for one another, dreaming of a future that might be between them. When the Chester’s spoiled older son finally returns, he begins to stir up trouble, however, trouble that threatens the secrets Robbie and Charles are keeping. The two men have found love and happiness between them, but if the truth comes out about their relationship, it could destroy their family connections.
I am a big fan of Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s historicals and Mending Him was another really delightful story. Robbie and Charles are such an interesting match and I loved the way things develop between them. Robbie has grown up in the Chester household since childhood. He has a significant limp from a childhood injury, and combined with being the poor relation, he is accepted and loved, but never totally part of the family. Robbie is the one the Chester’s lean on, helping with the business dealings and assisting his aunt with social events. Yet when their son comes home, Robbie’s place is threatened by the “real” family. A while back Robbie had tried to make a go of interior design in London, but after he got sick and had to return home to recover, he has never ventured out again. But now with Samuel’s return, Robbie is forced to figure out what to do with his life. Part of him is ready to move on, and part of him is terrified of leaving the nest and trying once again to find his place in the world.
Charles is Robbie’s opposite in many ways. He grew up wealthy and entitled and lived life to the fullest, as if the money would always be there and the fun would never stop. Then he began to have unexplained ailments, problems the doctors assured him were all in his head, but that led to his carriage accident. Having to pay people to care for him during his recovery drained him financially and soon he lost his home and all his belongings. Despite the total change in life, Charles manages to handle it all quite well (at least after his final bout of drunken self pity leaves him humiliated in front of the Chesters). His problem is sort of the opposite of Robbie’s; after a life of limitless options, Charles needs to make his world smaller and focus on his future and what he can do with his life now that he no longer has endless money.
I just loved Robbie and Charles together. Both of them are a bit more than meets the eye. Robbie is kind, gentle, well behaved, and willing to do whatever is asked to help his family. At first he appears kind of meek, as if Charles would steamroll right over him. But he has quite a bit of spirit, and despite is innocence in the sexual area, is very clear he wants Charles and isn’t afraid to act on his feelings once he decides he wants to be with Charles. Robbie has a lot of inner strength and can handle a lot more than most people think. For Charles’ part, he comes across at first like a spoiled young lord. He is having a hard time coming to terms with the ruin his life has become and feels quite sorry for himself. But when Charles’ hits rock bottom, he realizes he needs to get going with turning his life around, and he does so without looking back. He and Robbie are so sweet and lovely together, sexy and and also tender. I loved watching the feelings grow between them as two lost souls who end up finding happiness by sticking together.
The conflict here focuses mostly on Samuel’s return and the problems that stirs up. I would have loved to see a bit more of how the men get their new lives going once they leave the Chester’s, just because it is such a big leap to get there. We also leave things with Charles’ health a bit unresolved. His symptoms are never clear and most doctors think it is all in his head. They have been coming and going for a while, and seem to be waning as the story ends. But I wasn’t clear how they are suddenly gone and he is cured. In the past they have gone away and come back, but it seems like now they are gone for good, and I am not quite sure why. So this just was a bit pat and I would have liked to understand it better.
So overall I really enjoyed Mending Him. It is a really sweet and lovely story with great heroes I liked a lot. Charles and Robbie are both men in transition who manage to find love and happiness together that leads them to finding their way to the future. I loved them together and really enjoyed the book.