One of the things I most enjoy is the fact that Carla Kelly's stories are character driven; they are ordinary folks doing extraordinary things. British surgeon, Lt. Philemon Brittle, is doing his part during the Napoleon War. The author is as much a historian as a novelist; some of the scenes are extremely realistic and graphic.
This is the second book in a trilogy about the British Navy. Philemon Brittle is a warm, caring and funny man; while Lady Laura Taunton begins as a tragic figure. Essentially, Laura is a widow who was sold (by her father) to an older lord via marriage. Laura spent several years trying to beget an heir for her husband's line to no avail. Laura is traumatized in her relationships with men; she seems bowed by her experiences. However, we soon learn that Laura has a core of steel.
Another one of the things I enjoy about this author's books is the fact that she does not explain to us what she is doing; she does it and assumes we are intelligent enough to understand. I appreciate that. Love develops between Philemon and Laura gradually, as they work together to heal the men who have been injured while fighting Napoleon. Laura also begins to heal through her interactions with Philemon, the wounded and even the autocratic head of the hospital.
This is a well-written story, well worth a reader's time.
1. Marrying the Captain (2008)
2. The Surgeon's Lady (2009)
3. Marrying the Royal Marine (2010)