Tuesday, December 21, 2010
BOOK REVIEW: The Admiral's Penniless Bride By Carla Kelly
Harlequin Historical Jan 1 2011
288 pages by Carla Kelly
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
Sally Paul is down to her last penny. As she spends it on a cup of tea—to stave off being at the mercy of the workhouse—the last thing she expects is an offer of marriage…from a complete stranger!
Admiral Sir Charles Bright's seafaring days are over—and according to society, that must mean he's in need of a wife! Discovering Sally's in need of a home, he offers a solution…. They marry in haste—but will they enjoy their wedding night at leisure?
I adore the couple of books I have read of Carla Kelly's. This book ranks right up there as one of her best. Carla's specialty is the Napoleonic era, and be it solider or sailor, her heroes are amazing.
Admiral Sir Charles Bright is no exception. A mature man of 45 and recently retired from his Majesty's Navy, he sits in a tea shop waiting for his bride of convenience, a captain's spinster sister. A few hours creep by, and Charles waxes philosophical about his carriage and countenance. He is a pleasant enough looking chap, with broad shoulders, no girth to speak of. A little gray at his temples, but he still had a full head of hair! Why didn't the woman show up? Maybe it is the fact he has a hook for a hand. And he went to all the trouble of putting the silver hook on!
I loved Charles right away after reading that. Fantastic. While he muses silently, he notices a woman sitting across the way, lingering over a cup of tea. She looks stricken, and Charles cannot help himself, he must assist her.
Enter the penniless bride. Sally Paul is a widow, no spring chicken herself at 32. Charles soon surmises she is in dire straits, and since he has been stood up by his bride, he proposes Sally step into the breech as it were.
Sally has no money, no family, appalled at first by the bold proposal, she looks at the Admiral. It is either him...or the workhouse.
She chooses the Admiral.
The rest of the book is engaging, as we watch as this lonely pair find themselves falling in love, though neither realize it at first. After all, this is to be a marriage of convenience.
Charles is at times, thoughtful, pensive and he can put his "Admiral Face" on, chilling one's very soul with his haughty look. He can also be humorous, tender and thoughtful. He brings his new wife a cup of tea every morning, staying to chat with her as she sips at her beverage.
He is also compassionate, when visiting his new neighbors with Sally, he meets the father of a young man who served as a Lieutenant under him some years before. Charles is stoic with the father, recalling the young man's tragic death, but as soon as he steps outside, Charles falls to pieces. It was very moving, so is Sally's gentle comfort toward Charles in his anguish.
Sally was also engaging, a tragic past, and some secrets she keeps well hidden, from even Charles. And when they finally succumb to their feelings, Charles also proves he is quite passionate, and Sally is more than a match for him.
However, this new found happiness is short lived, as Sally's secrets come to light. I thought Charles overreacted myself, but, it was in keeping with his character, I suppose.
It is not easy for this mature couple to reach their happy ending, an ending I found rather abrupt. Regardless, I was thoroughly caught up in this middle-age love story. Both hero and heroine are enchanting, their personalities appealing, their love story, heart warming and ultimately, sweet.
3 1/2 stars out of four for the book
KOVER KUDOS: Very nice, colors, poses, the whole bit. Would have prefered to see the male model's face, though.
2 3/4 stars out of four for the cover