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The Admiral’s Penniless Bride

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Admiral’s Penniless Bride (2011) Carla Kelly

Set in England in 1816.

Sally Paul is a paid companion. Because she works for older women, she is frequently looking for work, and when she goes to take a job in Plymouth, she discovers the women has already died. This leaves her with nothing, and nowhere to go.

Admiral Charles Bright has had enough of his sister’s meddling, and so is looking for a wife so they will leave him alone.

Have your sisters been here?’

‘Once. Fannie had to wave burnt feathers under Dora’s nose, and they were gone the next morning before it was even light. I confess I haven’t done anything to the house since, because they assured me they would never return until I did.

When the woman with whom he was considering a marriage of convenience stands him up, on a whim he takes pity on Sally Paul, and marries her instead.

I quite liked Sally. She is a kind and generous woman. I also liked the peek into things that we might forget in a more modern age. Such as the first visit to the elderly Jewish couple next door.

She set the tray down in front of Sally, who looked up to smile, and noticed tears in the housekeeper’s eyes. I wonder what is wrong? she thought. She glanced at the old man, who seemed to be struggling, too. Uncertain what to do, she asked, ‘Wou-would you like me to pour, Mr Brustein?’

He nodded and wiped at his eyes. ‘I hope we have not come at a bad time,’ Bright said. ‘We can come another day.’

With that, Brustein took out a large handkerchief and blew his nose vigorously. He tucked it back in his coat, and settled the shawl higher on his shoulders. ‘This is an excellent day. You will understand my emotion when I tell you two that you are my first neighbourhood visitors.’

Sally gasped. ‘Sir, how long have you lived here?’

‘More than thirty years, my dear.’

Or when Sally goes back to hire as a maid a young girl who had been working at an inn where she looked for work.

You might have to share a room with another maid in the servants’ quarters. Would that be acceptable?’

‘A room?’ she asked, her voice soft.

‘Yes, of course. Where do you sleep now?’

The little girl glanced at the landlord and moved closer to Sally. ‘On the dirty clothes in the laundry,’ she whispered.

Sally couldn’t help the chill that ran through her spine. In another moment, Charles was beside her, his hand firmly on her shoulder. ‘We’ll do better than dirty clothes,’ he said. ‘What’s your name?’

She shrugged, and scratched at her neck. ‘General, they called me Twenty, because they thought I wouldn’t live too long in the workhouse.’

Sally bowed her head and felt Charles’s fingers go gentle against her neck. ‘We’ll find you a good name, Twenty,’ he said. ‘Will you come with us? Don’t worry about him. Look at us.’

‘I’ll come,’ she whispered.

‘Excellent,’ he said. ‘Now, is there anything you want to fetch from your…from the laundry room? Lady Bright will go with you, if you’d like.’

‘Nuffink,’ was all Twenty said. She tugged at her over-large dress and patted it down with all the dignity she could muster. ‘I’m ready now.’

That is truly a horrifying passage. And they don’t shy away with what the girls’s life had been like working at the inn on top of that.

However, a couple things to note. I was surprised to find boinking, since the previous books I’d read by the author were free of boink. That wasn’t a bad thing per se, just unexpected.

Second, at points, the story seemed to be going on too long. It needed some editing to make it a tighter and better story.

Thirdly, I had some trouble with the Admiral’s reaction when he finally learns of Sally’s past. He acted as if she had entrapped him and set him up. Ummm… no. I’m also not sure why the Admiral didn’t do something obvious, like put a notice in the paper for Sally. That whole bit was just completely overwrought and ridiculous to me.

So, it was ok. But not anything I’ll read again.
Rating: 6/10

Publisher: Harlequin Historical

Categories: British, Historical, Romance     Comments (0)    

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