Showing posts with label Susanna Fraser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Susanna Fraser. Show all posts

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Susanna Fraser

Left orphaned and penniless as a young child, Lucy Jones learned to curb her temper, her passions, and even her sense of humor to placate the wealthy relatives who took her in. She became the perfect poor relation--meek, quiet, and self-effacing. She clings to her self-control because she can control nothing else.

James Wright-Gordon also lost his parents at a young age. But he became a wealthy viscount at fifteen and stepped into full control of his fortune and his birthright as a parliamentary power broker at twenty-one. At twenty-four, he is serenely confident in his ability to control everything in the world that matters to him.

At a house party in the summer of 1809, James quickly discerns Lucy’s carefully hidden spirit and wit and does his best to draw them out. After being caught in a compromising situation, they are obliged to marry. But can two people whose need for control has always been absolute learn to put love first?
A Marriage of Inconvenience by Susanna Fraser is the story of how orphaned and penniless Lucy Jones and Viscount James-Wright Gordon end up married despite the vast differences that separate them, including their own feelings. This is also the prequel to The Sergeant's Lady and it gives the readers the background to Anna's story.

I loved the first part of this book where the author depicts the interactions between the cast of characters, and conveys how 1809's society viewed both marriage and money through actions and discourse. The meetings between our protagonists James and Lucy, Lucy's interactions with her family, and the contempt with which she is treated by them as one who is less fortunate are all scenes that the reader can almost see in their minds eye because they are so well detailed by the writer. Those are the scenes that impacted me the most.

Lucy is pretty near at the bottom of the social scales, as she has no fortune and lives on her family's charity. On the other hand, James is a wealthy viscount whose father earned his money while working in India. The fact that Lucy is dependent on her family plays a big role in this romance. Even after her much admired cousin Sebastian offers marriage, their engagement is kept secret and Lucy is often ignored or humiliated with the exception of her new friends James and Anna.

The romance between James and Lucy is actually quite lovely. It develops from a new and tentative friendship into what amounts to an unrecognized courtship. I loved their interactions during this part of the story and up to the point when the two are caught in a compromising situation. A situation where Lucy is quite the willing participant. Once that happens, James plays the gentleman and offers marriage on the spot.

Once James and Lucy marry, the focus of the story changes and although the couple is happy in many ways, the conflict shifts to that of trust and control. This is all right, however, part of this trust issue is all about Lucy letting go of herself sexually. This became frustrating, not only for poor James but for this reader as well -- however, I do believe other readers might really enjoy this section. Once that happened, the story picks up again with a well done resolution to conflicts where angst becomes part of the equation.

When it comes to secondary characters, Anna and Sebastian were the main draw. These two characters really caught my attention and I couldn't wait to read their story. Sebastian was such an ass that I couldn't wait to see what happened to Anna in her own story... so I picked up The Sergeant's Lady immediately after reading this book.

A Marriage of Inconvenience is an enjoyable historical romance read. The story is a bit uneven with an excellent beginning and first half, a frustrating middle, and a good resolution. The story ends with a sweet and satisfying epilogue.

Category: Historical Romance
Publisher/Release Date: Carina Press/April 11, 2011 - Kindle Edition
Grade: B

Visit Susanna Fraser here.

The Sergeant's Lady
A Marriage of Inconvenience

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser

Highborn Anna Arrington has been following the drum, obeying the wishes of her cold, controlling cavalry officer husband. When he dies, all she wants is to leave life with Wellington’s army in Spain behind her and go home to her family’s castle in Scotland.

Sergeant Will Atkins ran away from home to join the army in a fit of boyish enthusiasm. He is a natural born soldier, popular with officers and men alike, uncommonly brave and chivalrous, and educated and well-read despite his common birth.

As Anna journeys home with a convoy of wounded soldiers, she forms an unlikely friendship with Will. When the convoy is ambushed and their fellow soldiers captured, they become fugitives together. The attraction between them is strong, but even if they can escape the threat of death at the hands of the French, is love strong enough to bridge the gap between a viscount’s daughter and an innkeeper’s son?
I loved the story of Anna and Will. The setting in Spain during the war with the French was rich with details and Fraser caught the atmosphere by depicting the harsh reality of war and transporting the reader to those moments in time. Even later when Anna returns to England, through this character and those she meets, the reader experiences a different place -- a place where its people are still dealing with the ravages of war and loss.

Anna "follows the drum," and an abusive and controlling husband who serves in Wellington's army in Spain. After he dies she decides to go home, but while on her way Anna is thrown together with Sergeant Will Atkins, a brave, kind soldier who saves her life after their convoy is captured by the French. The two become fugitives and while on the run, their attraction grows and the two embark on a secret love affair that turns into more. Unfortunately she is highborn and he's of common birth, and neither can see a way to surmount this obstacle.

Will and Anna are excellent protagonists. He is the self-educated son of a country innkeeper and she is the daughter of a viscount who made his fortune in India. Society keeps them apart, as he is poor and can't even afford to buy an officer's commission, and she is a wealthy heiress and widow. I loved both of them as central characters. Anna who performed her duty, paid a high price during a cold and abusive marriage, but still recognized a good man and had so much love to give. She's a character that just grew and grew throughout this two-book series. And then there's Will... talk about love and romance! I loved him.

In The Sergeant's Lady the emotional connection between the two main characters was there from the beginning and it pulled at me to the end. There's also passion, tenderness and love. Plus my goodness... there's the desperation of two people who have all those feelings and know they can't have each other! The writing is beautiful and between that, the story, characterization, setting and atmosphere I couldn't stop reading this story from beginning to end.

The end was a bit rushed in my opinion, and there were a couple of things I wanted to know about Anna and Will at the end that were not clarified. However, that's small potatoes compared to how much I enjoyed the rest of this book. Beautiful, this was a beautiful historical romance.

Category: Historical Romance
Series: The Sergeant's Lady, #1, A Marriage of Inconvenience (Prequel), #2
Publisher/Released: Carina Press/August 23, 2010, Kindle Edition
Grade: B+

Visit Susanna Fraser here.