Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Marriage of Mercy - Carla Kelly (HH #1092 - June 2012)

From riches to rags, Grace has had to swallow her pride and get a job as a baker. But everything changes when she's the beneficiary of a surprise inheritance.

Her benefactor's deal comes with a catch: give up her life of toil and live in luxury only if she marries his illegitimate son, a prisoner of war. It's an offer she can't afford to refuse. But her husband-to-be is dying, and he begs her to take one of his men instead -- to marry purely out of mercy....

A marriage of convenience with a complete stranger... Could this arrangement ever work? 

First let me say that I enjoyed the book. However, Harlequin really messed up with the backcover blurb and the cover art.  There was no marriage required and the people on the front don't match the story at all.  Grace had befriended the local elderly Lord Thomson.  When he died he left her a small inheritance (not enough for the "luxury" stated) and asked that she assist in the paroling of his illegitimate son who is an American prisoner of war.  When she goes to the prison (a horrible place) the young man is dying and asks her to take one of the others instead.  So she takes Rob Inman instead, masquerading him as Captain Duncan.  He goes home with her where she nurses him back to health.  She has had a run in with the new Lord Thomson who is having her watched so he can attempt to catch her parolee trying to escape and kill him.  As Grace and Rob get to know each other a friendship develops.  Over the months that friendship starts to grow into stronger feelings.  Rob also helps Grace in the bakery where he and the townspeople get to know each other.  When their deception is discovered and Rob gets taken back to the prison, behind the scenes plots and twists come to light.  The ending was good, if a little different than what I expected.  An epilogue would have been nice - I'd like to see how they are doing a couple years down the line.  I liked both Grace and Rob.  I loved the way that she followed the request of the dying Captain Duncan.  She thought pretty well on her feet.  She took great care of Rob and was very careful to make sure they followed the rules.  I loved how she cared for him and got to know him.  Her interest in his life in America was neat, and she started to see how her life could be different if she lived there.  I liked the way she had taken control of her life and how happy she was working at the bakery.  Her desire to try new things showed some good spirit on her part.  Her love for Rob grew slowly out of their friendship which I really liked.  Rob was terrific too.  I loved the way he longed for home and the love for it that showed in the way he talked about it.  He wasn't happy about his circumstances, but he mostly accepted it for the way it had to be.  I liked the way he helped in the bakery and his introduction of donuts to the town.  His love for Grace also grew slowly out of their friendship, but he was very aware of the differences  in their backgrounds and felt that nothing could come of it.  He had great interactions with the townspeople, and I loved the way they warmed up to him.  The twists and turns of the plot kept me turning the pages, and there were definitely a couple surprises at the end.  I enjoyed the look at the War of 1812, a largely ignored war.  I will definitely keep reading her books.

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