Top critical review
Stephen is Honorable, Rosalind is Lovely, Story is Somewhat Flat
on 9 January 2015
The story of Stephen Kenyon, Duke of Ashburton and Rosalind Jordan, adopted daughter of actors, although beginning with a very compelling storyline, fell somewhat flat once the story moved along.
Stephen, a widower with no offspring, learning he has only a short time to live, decides to actually "live" during his remaining days. To this end, he leaves all servants behind, hops on his horse taking only the bare necessities and heads off across the country, leaving no details with his staff, solicitor or family members as to his direction - therefore, nobody can get in touch with him. Along the way, he runs into a traveling troupe of actors and meets Rosalind. She's been married before - albeit unhappily - she's loved by her adoptive family which has been enlarged by two younger siblings (although not blood).
Rosalind is a wonderful woman and very shortly, Stephen, whose first marriage was less than it could/should have been, has a strong desire to have something more during his final days. There is a back storyline with the doctor, Blackmer, who diagnosed Stephen and Michael, Stephen's younger brother, who are traveling together attempting to track him down. We're not sure why the doctor is hot on his trail, but Michael's reasons are obvious.
In the meantime, Stephen has been persuaded to join the actors, portraying some of the lesser characters in their plays. He enjoys this time greatly and of course, his traveling with the actors gives time for his relationship with Rosalind to blossom into something greater than that of friendship. As Stephen's illness progresses, he tries to decide whether or not proposing to Rosalind would be beneficial or detrimental for her life. Since her parents are getting along in years, his decision in part is based on the welfare of Rosalind's family which brings a great blessing to Stephen to be able to have Rosalind during the time he has left.
Although I've read this book twice during the past couple of years, I found the second reading to be just as flat as the first reading. I have been re-reading Putney in order catch up on reviewing books I've previously read. Can't give this book more than 3 stars.