Marrying The Captain by Carla Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 1/2 stars
This was only my second book by Carla Kelly, but I can already say for sure that she is one of my favorite authors now. I love her writing and the way she fills her books with accurate and realistic historic details without turning them into a textbook... Well, that's how I feel after reading only two books, but I doubt they're exceptions to the rule. :)
Marrying The Captain (Channel Fleet, #1) is the first book in the Channel Fleet trilogy. The story takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and, unlike what I've become used to read in other Regency books, the H/h are common (but not ordinary) people: Royal Navy Captain Oliver Worthy, a simple country vicar's son who's achieved his current rank by merit, and Eleanor "Nana" Massie, a scheming lord's illegitimate daughter.
Nana's been living in Plymouth with her grandmother (from her mother's side, of course) and running the Mulberry Inn with her for the past five years, since her father tried to give her to one of his "friends" as payment for his debts. Oliver has the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with Lord Ratliffe, Nana's father and an undersecretary of Admiralty House, and is asked to spy on Nana - just to make sure she's doing fine, assures Lord Ratliffe. Oliver doesn't buy it, but fate plays its hand and he ends up staying in Mulberry Inn anyway - and as they say, the rest is history...
I loved Oliver and Nana. They were fully developed characters, admirable and flawed at the same time, and their falling in love was very poignant. At first, I was afraid Oliver's connection with Nana's father would lead to a Big Misunderstanding, but Ms. Kelly knows better than that and showed me that such plot device isn't necessary to add conflict to a story and keep it interesting. The uncertainties brought by war were enough to give my heart a little squeeze.
This was a very enjoyable read to me, slow paced at times but never boring. I never doubted Oliver and Nana's love for each other, even when they tried to fight it - for sensible reasons and not just for the sake of adding angst to the story. If I have one complaint, it's the ending: this book needed an epilogue, IMHO. Call me greedy, but I needed to see Oliver and Nana living HEA after the war was over. That's the only reason I couldn't give this book 5 stars. Hopefully, I'll get to seem them again in the next books, The Surgeon's Lady (Channel Fleet, #2) and Marrying the Royal Marine. :)
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