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Reckless Angel (1989)
por Jane Feather
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Henrietta Ashby, known to her friends as“Harry”, dresses as a boy and joins a battle to escape her abusive father. On the battlefield she’s rescued by Sir Daniel Drummond who then feels responsible for taking her home. Escorting her to safety proves more hazardous than the war, however, as she works her charms on him. The only way he figures to save her is to marry her. Henrietta accepts, liking her champion and hoping she can live up to his expectations. But can she shed her impulsive nature to become a proper wife? This intriguing story takes place during Cromwell’s time and will give you a bit of history as well as a classic romance. ( )
I reviewed this book on Romance Reader At Heart website. http://romancereaderatheart.com/
The only reason I chose to review this novel is the low, and I mean a very, very low score it received from the readers on Amazon. I’ve just recently discovered this author and from only a handful of books read so far, that score bothered me.
Here is the original 1989 Book Blurb:
She turned his life into chaos as she melted his heart...
Sir Daniel Drummond had amazed himself by offering to marry Henrietta Ashby to save her from her tyrannical father. Now the little hoyden had turned his household topsy-turvy with her unconventional ways. Yet he had to admit that his impetuous "Harry" brought a unique ardor to their bedchamber, making each night a glorious celebration of silken skin and satin caresses...snaring his world-weary heart.
Henrietta had learned much from her bold, cynical husband whose skilled lovemaking sent the blood singing through her veins. But as they followed their deposed king into exile, she wondered if she had enough courage, enough love, to face the perils of court intrigue... and save her beloved Daniel from a traitor's death!
This book was originally published in 1989 (the age of Bodice Rippers) with an interesting setting of England right before Charles I had been executed, during Cromwell’s rule as well as Charles II’s attempt to return to England. I am surprised it went unnoticed by me. Yet, reading the blurb, I’m not so surprised. The blurb actually doesn’t do the book justice, and in my opinion, is atrocious and aims to titillate rather than draw a reader to the story. It misrepresents the hero as a “bold, cynical husband whose skilled lovemaking sent the blood singing through her veins,” and misses the mark by leagues in talking about the heroine as “impetuous 'Harry' brought a unique ardor to their bedchamber, making each night a glorious celebration of silken skin and satin caresses.” The hero was never bold or cynical, and the heroine, while impetuous, was still very young and could never have acted ‘ardently’. As much as I was happy to see Avon rewrite the blurb, in my opinion, it still misrepresents the hero and heroine.
Sir Daniel Drummond is twenty-nine; Baronet of Glebe Park in the village of Cranston, in the county of Kent; His Majesty’s most loyal servant; a widower who was faithful and loved his wife, until she died birthing their second child; and a father who adores his children, yet always tries to apply gentle discipline. He is the epitome of the word 'hero'. A hero, from Wikipedia, describes one as "(male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.” That is exactly who Daniel was.
Only a hero would stop at the end of battle to help a young girl, wounded and helpless; only a hero would attempt to return her to her father; and only a hero would save her in the end from that retched man by offering her safe haven as his wife. He was aware of her tender years; aware of her ignorance in regards to marital relations, and for a man that went four years after his wife’s death without the said relations, had the forethought and great restraint not to take any chance in leaving his young wife with child until he thought her ready to be. It bothers me when people use the age difference in the characters as an excuse not to finish the book. For goodness' sake, this is 1649 and the age difference between these two was acceptable and preferable. Did you know that “between 1625 and 1649, life expectancy at birth in England and Wales was 38.7 years for males and 37.6 for females”? Both of these people were already middle-aged, so, get a grip people.
Henrietta Ashby is a fifteen-year-old young woman that has never known love of any kind, yet she knew how to give it. Her father and stepmother were willing to give her in marriage to a man twice her age, only because they owed him money and would never even consider allowing her to marry Will, a young man she deeply cared for and thought herself so much in love with, that she ran away from home and willingly followed him on the battle field at Preston, which Royalists lost to the Puritans. This girl was pure of heart, and what some might see as selfish and manipulative, I saw as too eager to help and make herself irreplaceable, therefore worth keeping, worth loving. She also embodies the term ‘heroine’ as much as our hero, Daniel. Everything she does is motivated by her love of others and her loyalty to those that have shown her affection. Her willingness to help them may not always, or most of the time, be the right course, but the motivation behind it is pure.
My favorite paragraph is at the end of this tale, as Daniel is watching her sleep, thinking... ”Daniel gazed upon his sleeping wife and wondered how such a wondrous, magical creature has been shaped, how such a loving and giving spirit could have emerged from the arid soil of her childhood. And he had wondered what he had done to deserve the gift of her love, the measurable joy of her self to inform his life.”
RECKLESS ANGEL is a romance with sensual overtones that should make Ms. Feather proud. She has achieved a perfect balance of romance and history by introducing us to England as it was at the time of civil strife, and gifting us with characters that were three-dimensional. Combined with a very plausible plot and a quick pace, this makes for a wonderful, extremely entertaining and fun read. I would go so far as to even recommend it to sixteen-year-olds! There are no overly explicit scenes in this book that would make it inappropriate for this generation, or for that matter, any generation. I highly recommend it, and strongly urge you to ignore the negative reviews of this delightful romance story.
She turned his life into chaos even as she melted his heart... The injured "boy" Sir Daniel Drummondrescues from a British battlefield is no boy at all,but a vivacious young enchantress fleeing hertyrannical father. Moved by her plight, herspirit, and her mesmerizing beauty--and his own young daughters' need for a mother--the dashing nobleman impulsively offers towed Henrietta "Harry" Ashby, who promptlythrows his life and household into disarray. Headstrong, impetuous, wildly unconventional, "Harry" knows precious little about wifelyduties. But the irrepressible miss understandsthe importance of unwavering loyaltywhen danger threatens. And she knows daringways to set a man's passions aflame--and the sensuous secret to transforming amarriage of convenience into a union ofeverlasting ecstasy and love.
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Sistema Decimal Melvil (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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