The sea in all its myster had long been home to Nathan Gaites. Until he found himself charting the turbulent waters of family life -- and facing Margaret Weston, a woman of rare beauty and unfathomable depths!
Margaret was determined that no man would be her master. Yet Nathan promised her freedom - and boundless joy - if she would only submit to the growing passion that flared between them.
What do you call a romance novel that has very little romance? "Castaway" would be one name. This book, published by Harlequin Historical, is far more of a novel than a typical bodice ripper romance.
In a "typical" romance novel, we meet two characters who decide they are either looking for the right man/woman or have vowed to never wed because all men/women are jerks. The characters meet and are instantly attracted to each other or decide they want nothing to do with the other. We then go back and forth throughout the story having one character win over the other, seeing the story from both points of view, until the happy ending where they overcome obstacles (usually their own pride), fall in love, and wed. We're then treated to an epilogue where they've had one or more babies and everything is happily ever after. The End.
In "Castaway" we meet Nathan Gaites, a successful merchant. Nathan, however, doesn't even mention needing, or not needing, to find a woman. This story's focus becomes his estranged family and Nathan's winning a place in their lives. The woman is almost an afterthought. We rarely even see her side of things. When Nathan goes to live at his family's estate, he uses his wit, charm, and infallible good nature to slowly win over his rather stuffy extended family, guaranteeing himself a place in their hearts.
The woman, Margaret, is his distant cousin who is also living at the Gaites estate. She is far more typical of a romance novel character. She chafes at the suggestion of marrying Nathan and continuously uses bad temper to keep him at bay. She follows the illogic of a romance character, believing that marrying anyone will diminish her freedom, despite Nathan's repeated vows to the contrary.
Nathan's story progresses well. He works at winning over his family, gains interest in running an estate, take the London ton by force, is charming and kind to his youngest cousin Dicea, wins over his sour cousin Jared, makes his grandfather less of a curmudgeon, etc. And he still decides he wants to marry Margaret, simply because she's so mean to him.
I enjoyed the story because Nathan was such a likeable character. He is literally perfect. The author clearly enjoyed writing him. The book, too, would have been perfect if Margaret hadn't been in it at all. The author should have cut any hint of romance and simply made it Nathan's story and a fun work of fiction. I recommend reading to anyone who likes romance novels without the bodice ripping, or anyone who just likes an enjoyable escape.