Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
5* Review by Maggi Anderson
Format Kindle Edition
Rosemary Morris has a wonderful understanding of this period of history and she adroitly evokes the period her characters inhabit with all its pomp and ceremony. It is rich in its detail of customs, classes, servants, beliefs, London life, food, interiors and the exquisite fashions.
The Right Honourable Captain Howard, a handsome officer in Queen Anne's navy is on half pay - the result of a dispute with a senior officer - and stays with his godmother in St. James Park. At twenty-two years of age, he is not yet ready to wed, although his godmother thinks otherwise, and plans to marry him off to her protégée. Unimpressed by the young woman, Edward's attention is caught instead by a widow, an acclaimed beauty with cool blue eyes and flaxen plaits. The countess's sobriquet is `The Fatal Widow.' An artist, Edward becomes determined to paint her.
An arbiter of fashion and style with a smart head for business, the widowed Lady Katherine Sinclair is no longer an ingénue. She intrigues Edward as none of the green girls thrust before him by ambitious mammas can do. Edward becomes smitten and plans to take Katherine as his lover. He sketches her from memory, but he wants far more. Katherine, however, is very aware she is nine years older than he, and rebuffs him. For the first time in her life she has some element of control, and, enjoying her widowhood, has no plans to marry again. But her devil-may-care attitude hides her terrible grief over her arranged marriage, which brought untold heartbreak. The story is set in an era when ancient superstitions could destroy a young woman's life. What Katherine is forced to endure in this male dominated society is quite chilling. The book describes well the lack of power women had in those times, showing the distress and frustration Kate suffers when, as a woman, she is denied by a man's ignorance and another's greed, that which she most ardently desires and should have by right.
As she gets to know him, Kate discovers Edward to be mature beyond his years. He is sympathetic to her plight and determined to help her, but although he stirs passion in her, she continues to hold him at arm's length. She is the older woman, a fact she cannot forget and she fears further heartbreak.
Edward joins with Katherine to right her distressing situation, but even when it turns to love might such a union be possible?
Rosemary Morris ties up the subplots neatly and everything falls satisfactorily into place. I was rooting for Edward and Katherine to find happiness together in this older woman/younger man romance. There's no childish squabbling between the hero and heroine here. The author's mature understanding of human nature enriches the romance, as it does in her other novels, making The Captain and the Countess a very enjoyable read.