4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2007
Carla Kelly succeeds again in her delightful romance which touches on hard to deal with subjects. This particular one touches on alcoholism and underage rape and unrequited love. Instead of sweeping these subjects under the carptet Carla Kelly weaves them into the story with the lightest of touches.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2013
I am amazed at Carla Kelly's writing this is no ordinary story it handles with honesty and sensitivity horrible topics and events topics that are current - alcoholism, war, post traumatic stress, gang rape, paedophelia, yet all I remember is a story of love, hope and forgiveness.
It tells the tale of The Duke of Knaresborough who is trying to come to terms with his life and the fact that he has lost his love to another man. He has agreed to take his young neice to his country estate so that she will not contract chickenpox form her infant brother, however while on the road, his niece contracts chickenpox after all, and he's not sure if he can cope with a sick child. Luckily for him he meets Miss Liria Valencia and her young five year old son, her ability to deal with the crisis at hand and her calm manner impresses the duke and his servant. On arrival at his home he impulsively he offers her a job as his housekeeper, and is amazed at her ability to manage a large establishment. The more contact he has with Liria, the more he is intrigued by her, she seems to be a Spanish camp follower, but who has the bearing and demeanour to command a Duke's home. As the duke sets out to discover the secrets that Liria harbors in order to help her, he also has to confront his own demons.
The love that Liria has for her child is described so movingly and the horror of the events that came into her life are neither diminished nor over dramatised. Carla Kelly handles the difficult topics with real skill and empathy. War is awful and leave huge scars, but the human spirit has the ability to create joy also.
I will keep this book.
on 25 October 2013
This book has loose similarities to Georgette Heyer's The Spanish Bride - which, since that was a true story, is perfectly acceptable. Nez is a veteran of the Peninsula wars and also Waterloo and is suffering what we'd now call post-war stress. He's stopped drinking but is still trying to pull his life together. Liria was raped at Badajoz and had a child a result. Inevitably, the relationship between these two is painful and develops slowly. Parts of their story is a real tear-jerker - and the whole thing is very well-written.
on 22 October 2014
Probably her best! Great story, horrifying events, good pacing, believable characters, good settings, delightful secondary personages and well written. It is also fun to get glimpses of characters from Kelly's other stories, and feel that they too are doing well. Delightful as well as seriously thought-provoking!