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Parson Harding's Daughter [Paperback]

Caroline Harvey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Aug 1998

The Reverend Henry Harding was a handsome and prepossessing man. Unfortunately fate had seen fit to bless him with a family of extremely plain and unprepossessing children. Caroline was the least plain, according to Lady Lennox, but the entire Lennox family also admitted that Caroline was the least significant person in Dorset.

Caroline, already twenty-six and bullied by her sister, was nervous in company and had no prospects at all. She had one golden memory, of an admirer when she was eighteen, but John Gates, nephew to the Lennox family, had gone to India and forgotten her. Or so she thought.

When Caroline was summoned by Lady Lennox to be told that Johnny Gates had sent a proposal of marriage, Caroline first declined. But within a few weeks tragedy had overtaken her. The little security and contentment she had known vanished from her life and left her no option but to accept Lady Lennox's offer.

In the October of 1776, Caroline Harding set sail for India, to a new life and a man she had not seen for eight years.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (6 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552142999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552149280
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 465,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Caroline Harvey is the pseudonym of Joanna Trollope, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling contemporary novels. The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man, The Rector’s Wife, The Men and the Girls, A Spanish Lover, The Best of Friends, Next of Kin, Other People’s Children, Marrying the Mistress, Girl from the South and Second Honeymoon are all published by Black Swan. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia’s Daughters. As Caroline Harvey she has written several historical novels including Legacy of Love, A Second Legacy, The Steps of the Sun, Leaves from the Valley, The Brass Dolphin, City of Gems and The Taverners’ Place, which are all published by Corgi Books.

Joanna Trollope was born in Gloucestershire, where she still lives. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read! 26 Oct 2010
By Carrie
Like all the novels under the name of Caroline Harvey, this is a very engaging read. I love the historical detail of such novels, it's a great way to absorb our history.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ok book 17 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have notfinished yet, but nice enough book. It arrived safely and I have nothing more to say about it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A permanent place on the keeper shelf 30 Dec 2009
By Susan Smith - Published on
Gosh, I was surprised by the one star review! I came across this when it was first published 30 years ago and kept it on the keeper shelf from which it has been taken down every 4-5 years for a re-read. Years later, Joanna Trollope's contemporary "Aga Sagas" began to appear and it took me a while to make the connection. As Caroline Harvey, she was getting to grips with story telling but of a completely different type than her later work. I love the Caroline Harvey books of which there are 5 or 6.

I particularly relish stories set in India. A couple of years ago I read White Moghuls and so thought I ought to read this again. The former made the latter an even better read.

This is a sad, difficult story, yes - that's very true. Equally, it is a story of great courage against a deck firmly stacked against our heroine, Caroline Parson Gates. Caroline is a second daughter in a mid-Georgian rectory, lacking looks, money and easy charm. Life seems to be a deadend of service and servitude. However, due to the machinations of a rich and influential neighbour, she is sent off to India with the "Fishing Fleet" to marry a man she met briefly years ago and under whose charms she fell. It's not going to work. He is lecherous, a drunkard and worse. However, Caroline gradually develops perserverance and fortitude and falls in love with India itself - she is willing to understand and learn about those natives with whom she lives and gradually gains terrific insight into the world around her.

A very senior government figure, Sir Edward Ashton, is charmed by her; indeed, there is a real sense of the "coup de foudre" here only it is from the masculine perspective. He, too, is a lover of India, its people and history. and they are very well matched.

Needless to say there are problems for this relationship. First a husband who is hateful and weak; poverty due to squalour and neglect and lastly honour and pride. Although not an easy to read, everything all right on the night romance, eventually everything comes right. If you want marshmallow fluff, this is not for you. But, if you like carefully plotted and very character-driven stories full of introspection then perhaps you will like this. The descriptions of mid-18th century Calcutta are very evocative. The little asides about clothing sticking to one's back due to the humidity and overwhelming heat, the descriptions of the markets, food, servants, house construction, gardens, etc. are very well done and you feel yourself sometimes the heat and dust, monsoon and overwhelming stench. And, the author writes with prose that flows easily yet is highly crafted and polished.

It's remaining, after 30 years, on the keeper shelf and this time I won't wait another 5 years to read it again. I do recommend this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love or virtue? Convention or committment? 26 Mar 2008
By Zou Zou - Published on
Also published as Mistaken Virtue by Joanna Trollope.
This is a well written historical romance. It is not light and frothy.
Caroline, our heroine, agrees to accept a marriage with East India Company Clerk and local libertine, Johnny Gates. She will travel alone to India, where they will marry.
Caroline is looking for freedom from a home with a bitter, joyless sister. Johnny is looking for access to his small inheritance controlled by his manipulative aunt, Lady Lennox. The marriage will solve both of these needs.
All in all, a bad deal for everyone concerned. Johnny doesn't want the responsibility of a wife. Caroline can't find anything worthy of love or respect in her new husband. Will Johnny fall in love with his wife? Will Caroline be able to curb his more destructive tendencies?
How Caroline survives in India, finds loyal friends and the strenghth to remain true to herself is this Romance's story. (The description of India, her people and the British community that lives and works there is fascinating.) Ultimately, Caroline finds love and contentment in India.
The question for the reader is: Does misguided loyalty stop her from finding love sooner?
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistaken Virtue a great read! 13 May 2014
By Mao - Published on
I actually picked up Mistaken Virtue by Joanne Trollope at the library where it was put on the shelf to take at no charge yes free! Well I throughly enjoyed the novel, so much so, I went to Ms Trollopes website and shot out an email telling her so and much to my surprise she responded. I didn't know how'd she feel at my saying I picked it up free, but she was delighted that I enjoyed the read. I recommend it just for the sheer resilience of the main character as she rises above all that comes against her and how she even against them her heart could not hate.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 26 July 2002
By kallan - Published on
This book was not what I expected - but never having read anything by Joanna Trollope/Caroline Harvey before, that's probably an unfair criticism. I was expecting a light historical romance, but that's not what this book is. I was expecting Caroline and John to come together, as could be expected from the premise set up in the synopsis, but that's not how things turned out. Think of this book more as "virtue is its own reward" or "a saga of personal growth in the face of adversity" than a romance. There's no fun in this book, and all the characters, with the exception of one supporting character in India, are repellent or uninteresting. Period detail is rather lacking, too.
Perhaps if you know what to expect from this author, you will find more to enjoy here than I did.
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