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Till Next We Meet Mass Market Paperback – 26 Aug 2005
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About the Author
Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn't that shy after all.
Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Top Customer Reviews
Catherine Dunnan is lonely. Married only one month, Catherine is overwhelmed when her new husband goes to war. Yet, his letters give Catherine a reason to live, to dream, to survive. He fills her heart with sincere tenderness and promise, bringing her comfort and hope, allowing Catherine a future.
Colonel Moncrief's first letter to Catherine Dunnan was easy to write. He penned it from pity. Colonel Moncrief felt sorry for Catherine; after all, her husband was the most unethical man he had ever met! No man, such as Harry Dunnan, deserved such loyalty, such compassion, such love as Catherine dispensed. Signing Harry Dunnan's name was easy; it was done to reassure Catherine Dunnan. However, one letter quickly turned into a year long secret relationship, a relationship built on fraud.
Colonel Moncrief of the Lowland Scots Fusiliers was now the Duke of Lymond. He was back in Scotland to assume his duties and obligations. It was his duty to call upon the grief-stricken Catherine Dunnan. He went out of protocol and honor. He often called upon relatives of fallen comrades - to express regret. Catherine Dunnan was no different - or was she?
Karen Ranney wrote a beautiful story. The love letters are tender and stunning.
To further enhance her book, Ranney spread "story secrets" throughout. However, the secrets disenchanted me; these "story bombshells" seemed to lack the passion and intensity found in the rest of Ranney's story. Still, the author is right on track with this lovely love story. TILL NEXT WE MEET is very impressive.
The correspondence has to end with the husband's death - but fate takes a hand when, back in England, Moncrief decides to pay Catherine a visit and is shocked to find an unkempt and somewhat addled young woman still in the throes of deep grieving who is clearly being seriously neglected. When, in saving her life, he inadvertently compromises her, there is no alternative but marriage.
The relationship between Moncrief and Catherine is beautifully developed and presented, with Catherine gradually coming to appreciate Moncrief’s sterling qualities and to value his company and his affection. The sexual tension between the couple builds slowly, and because Catherine has asked for time to get to know Moncrief better before consummating the marriage, it’s fairly late in the story before things progress from heated looks and touches. But when it does, the passion between them is almost uncontrollable, and it’s well worth the wait.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
No worries here though. This is a wonderful story, beautifully written. I empathized with Catherine and Moncrief. Their romance progressed slowly, and we weren't left with any irritating gaps in the storyline.
The letters were exquisite, and the love scenes were among the loveliest I have ever read, anywhere. They were filled with love, with tenderness. Such scenes in many stories are so clinical, so routine, so lacking, that I usually yawn and skip them. Not here. I was enthralled by every sentence.
The intricate plot twists fascinated me, and Ms. Ranney even managed to surprise me with the villain!
Enjoy your reading! :)
I put off buying this for a long time, as the plot didn't especially intrigue me. Letters, long distances, a cad of a husband, grief and loss??? If anyone can make these plot devices work, it's Karen Ranney and she accomplishes this by making the reader experience the plot as secondary to the characterizations, which are superb.
Colonel Moncrief has been corresponding with the wife of one of his soldiers, a womanizer, gambler and pitiful excuse for a man. Begun out of sympathy for this woman he has never met, the letters bring him a warmth and relationship he has never before experienced. Likewise, Catherine comes to love the husband she has only lived with for a scant month before he was sent to far away Canada, never knowing it is a much different man who authors those letters.
Then Harry dies and Moncrief takes it upon himself to pay his condolences to Catherine in person, on his way to assume his newly acquired dukedom. One would assume he'd be overcome with her beauty and grace, woo and win her affections and live happily ever after. Instead, he is confronted by a drugged, bedraggled, grief-stricken Catherine. Her ravaged appearance disappointed me, so I keenly felt Moncrief's disillusionment and was subsequently warmed by his chivalrous problem solving actions.
Moncrief is a soldier, an officer - a man's man. Many times he asserts his authority and presence by stating simply, "I am Moncrief." Catherine is rather the opposite - unassuming, weakened and without the resources to assume her new position as duchess or wife. One of my favorite scenes takes place at a dinner held to introduce her to the local gentry. Although held in her honor, she is publicly humiliated by her sister-in-law. Things become awkward and embarrassing and Moncrief grows agitated and angry. A scene ensues, but then Catherine is goaded to respond and she clearly states, "I am Moncrief's wife." That seems to be the pivotal turning point for Catherine and she begins to grow into her new roles. And so the story (and relationship) unfolds.
I would not say that this was a book that I couldn't put down. I could, and did put it down willingly, but only to relish the thought of picking it up again and re-entering the world of Moncrief. I recommend this, especially if you enjoy the sensual tension that results from a beautifully written romance. Can you tell that I liked this book and would emphatically recommend it. Four and a half stars.
Fortunately for everyone, Harry is killed. Moncrief unexpectedly inherits a dukedom from his elder brother, and upon his return to Scotland pays a visit to the widow. He finds her near death from laudanum and saves her life. When the obsequious vicar suggests that Moncrief has compromised the lady, Moncrief impulsively marries her on the spot and carries her away to his fabulous castle, Balidonough. Will Catherine, still overwhelmed with grief for Harry, ever accept Moncrief as her husband? What will happen when she discovers -- and we know she will -- that Moncrief wrote all of the beautiful letters that she clings to?
What I Liked
*Moncrief! Not a tortured hero, but certainly a sad one. As a third son, he never expected to inherit a dukedom, so he made the army his career. Although never close to his father or elder brother, he nevertheless regrets not having reconciled with them. He takes his new duties seriously and wants to improve the lives of his servants and tenants. He loves the Catherine he discovered in her letters, and he burns with desire for the Catherine he has married. (And, of course, like all the best HR heroes, he's tall, muscular, handsome, and blessed with a big beautiful wang. Prim, proper Catherine can't take her eyes off of him, and we begin to wish that this book came with full-color illustrations.)
*Catherine and Moncrief together. It takes a long time for the two of them to come together, but when they do -- wow! Have patience, because it's worth it. (And as Moss said, "I think if there's a nut to crack in HR, it's that you want to keep the squirrels apart and looking for it for as long as you can.")
*Surprise! About two-thirds into the book, we learn that there's a villain, and I was totally blindsided. Very well done, Ms. Ranney.
What I Didn't Like
*There's nothing not to like, with one possible exception. Balidonough sounds like a fantastic place, but there was way more description of the rooms, hallways, keeps and secret passages than we need.
*The shrewish Juliana and the retiring Hortensia practically disappear, which was really too bad, as they added a touch of variety to the story.
*The ending was a bit abrupt, and I would have enjoyed learning a bit more about the fates of the secondary characters.
What Bugged Me
The writing is excellent, but here's where I vent about those little things that good editors should catch:
*The author refers to Catherine's ever-present ache for Harry as a "succubus," which is a female demon believed to have sex with sleeping men. Huh? Perhaps she meant incubus?
*Moncrief is colonel of the Lowland Scots Fusiliers, yet Catherine recalls first seeing him in his Highlands Regimental uniform. Now I don't care about the difference, but those touchy Scots would run their claymores through anyone who confused the Highlands with the Lowlands.
A totally five-star read.
When he comes to her home to meet her she is broken down because of the death of her husband. Circumstances force them to marry and he has to penetrate her grief without giving away that he was the writer of her husband`s letters.
It was an entirely lovely story. I truly liked how he let her get to know him mentally first and then physically, how he waited for her but also pushed her. I also liked the mystery that actually had a surprising (to me) end.
I just love books that have me grinning towards the end.