Captain Jesse Randall, surgeon for the Number Eight Army Hospital, knew Elinore Mason when she was just a little girl. Even as a little girl, she possessed a strong will and an admirable spirit. Now she's a young woman, and he has no doubt in his mind that he's in love with her. But Captain Randall has a problem: he's painfully shy. He's so shy that some of his fellow soldiers have teased him about it.
Captain Mason, Elinore's father, owes major debts to a man named Major Bones (one of the most despicable villains to grace the pages of a Regency). In exchange for Elinore, all debts would be paid.
In order to protect her, Jesse weds Elinore just before a retreat. And so begins Major Bones' revenge. Jesse, Elinore, and a few others (including some of the sick patients) are left behind, hoping to beat their enemies to the Portugeuse border. Hence, the title: "The Wedding Journey."
There are no words strong enough to describe how strongly I feel about this book. Jesse Randall was a welcome change from all the typical romance heroes. He's not arrogant, he's humble. He's not sure of himself. He's not nobility, and he's not incredibly attractive. He's sweet, but not saccarhine. Elinore Mason has more courage than 100 London ladies put together. The supporting characters are fleshed-out and memorable: Wilkie, Harper, Sheffield, Leger, "the count." The book wouldn't have been the same without them. There is so much adventure and power packed into such a small book. It's quite astounding. You feel the pain of the characters, you cheer for them, you share in their tragic laughter. It is SO much more than a romance novel. I don't know how Carla Kelly does it!
If you prefer a light-hearted book, this book may not be for you. Most of the time, it's quite depressing. If you're looking for fun & laughter, pick up a Barbara Metzger book. If you're looking for a deeply moving piece with complex characters, read this. You won't regret it.