Because of the good buzz surrounding Carla Kelly's involvement with Harlequin Historicals, I hurried to get my copy of MARRYING THE CAPTAIN. (Target lesson - Kelly's previous offering, BEAU CRUSOE - I did not get in time! Now, short of selling the family farm, finding a copy of this "keeper" is proving difficult). Nevertheless, I did hurry and I can gladly report Carla Kelly hasn't lost anything under her new publisher, Harlequin. The woman can still write a superb Regency romance. Ms. Kelly totally captivated me; MARRYING THE CAPTAIN is a wonderful story.
From the moment Nana and Oliver meet attraction flares. As they spend more time in each other's company, that attraction grows steadily into forbidden love. Nana Massie is Viscount Ratliffe's illegitimate daughter, she lives in poverty with her Gran and she would never, never make Oliver a laughingstock in the Royal Navy. Gentlemen simply did not marry illicit women! For Captain Oliver Worthy, he did what he said he would never do! Now the enormity of that decision settles around him. His whole life has been built around duty - duty to his family, duty to his country, and now duty to his wife. Yet, this time his duty only relieves him. For Captain Oliver Worthy has chosen a woman who loves him; a woman who can let him go; a woman who will let him perform the duties his country inflicts upon him.
To sell this story, Carla Kelly delivers a sweet, gentle love story, without relying on a heap of sexual commotion (so prevalent in many "romance" books). All I ever ask of an author is to entertain me. Carla Kelley went far beyond that service. Deservingly, MARRYING THE CAPTAIN is fully recommended, even with one troublesome plot blemish: old Pete was described as an experienced sailor with a wooden leg (page 17), but when Nana dressed in Pete's clothes for the deception switch, she wore Pete's two shoes (page 259). I might be wrong, but in 1808, I don't think wooden legs permitted shoes!
Status: a beautiful love story