- Mass Market Paperback: 348 pages
- Publisher: Dutton / Signet (24 Feb 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451199537
- ISBN-13: 978-0451199539
- Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.4 x 3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,647,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
This is the story of a younger son, Jack Belden, first met in Red Red Rose who, like many younger sons in those days had a choice of church or army and he found purpose and meaning in his life by choosing the army. Rather than a front line officer, he became, because of his Spanish heritage, a fighter behind the lines with the Spanish guerrilleros - unusual for a fictional regency hero. After the end of the war, Jack is at loose ends, and has recently inherited a title and a load of debts and responsibilities. He has always found it easy to charm women although there is nothing malicious in how he does it.
Anne Heriot is the daughter of a deceased mill owner, fabulously rich but commonsensical and down to earth. To fulfill her father's most passionate wishes, she seeks to buy a title for herself. Nothing unusual here - it happened frequently and still does in the British aristocracy! As she evaluates her options, she learns much about herself and grows into a likeable and loveable woman.
However, neither Jack nor Anne are what they seem. He is, in fact, quite a romantic and she, for all her apparent strength and common sense is painfully in need of love and reassurance.
The great merit in Marjorie Farrell's writing is that she allows us to get inside her characters' heads and, most especially, she is excellent at portraying her male characters realistically and believably. Her stories move at a somewhat stately pace but you realise, as you go along, that this allows her to develop the plot, the characters and their relationships in such a way that they are wholly credible and we feel we know them intimately.
Her characters, as always, are adults dealing with adult issues. Here we have the issue of the Combination Acts and the Luddites used to show the characters developing embryonic social consciences - hats off for this - it was well done.
It was good to see Val Aston, his wife and his father again. We see that they have become a happy family group and that they are able to offer Jack and Anne love and support in a wholly believable and realistic way.
I do admire this author. This was not a regency romp; it was not intended to be. Rather, I thought it was a serious novel dealing, again, with grown up issues by adult, well rounded and sympathetic characters. Well recommended!
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