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When Love is Blind by Mary Burchell

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ARRGHH. Read this:

“That’s the strangest and most macabre thing…. It started—oh, months ago, when I adjudicated at a big music exam… Among the candidates was a girl…. her technique was quite outstanding, but beyond that there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. She had no real music in her… I told her so frankly and advised her not to flatter herself that she would ever be a concert performer in a million years.”

“Anyway, I forgot all about her after that… And then one evening she turned up at a concert… I didn’t recognize her at first. I mean I couldn’t think who she was. I just knew that I knew her. I think I smiled at her. Anyway, she smiled at me. Then she began to haunt me. She was at every concert at which I appeared, sometimes in the front, sometimes on the platform.”

“…And then I was driving home—perhaps a little too fast for country roads. There’s a crossroads near here—I came round the bend full tilt and—you’ll hardly believe it—she was standing there, bang in the middle of the road. I avoided her by a miracle, but the car went into a spin. And then I crashed into a tree, and that was it. She’d had her revenge all right!”

The hero, Lewis Freeman, got blinded in this accident. And to whom is he telling this weird and disturbing tale?

To Antoinette Burney, the very girl in question, who is currently posing as his nurse/secretary as he can’t recognise her now he’s blind.

Sounds like a stalker horror flick, right? Wrong. This unbelievably sick and ghastly scenario is in fact a romance. If you’re not unnerved enough by the above, he later asks her:

“You aren’t just a persistent fan pretending to be a good secretary in order to push your way into my private life and make a nuisance of yourself, are you?”

Yes. That’s exactly what she is, Lewis, and you should run. RUN FOR THE HILLS. Except you can’t, can you? Because you’re blind and your freaky stalker is worming her way into your life, lying and dissembling, forging documents, and you can’t escape. You can’t ever escape.

Because you and she and this plot are all so fucked up that even when you get your sight back, you decide you “love” her.