31 August 2010

Review: The Sergeant's Lady, by Susanna Fraser

If The Sergeant's Lady, by debut author Susanna Fraser, is a representative sample of what Carina Press (the digital arm of Harlequin) is publishing, then readers are in for a treat. If my schedule allowed it, I would have read the entire book straight through in one sitting. You should know, though, that this is no ballroom-banter historical, so if you want light-hearted smooching on the veranda, you should look elsewhere.

The Sergeant's Lady has a traditional Regency feel and is set in Spain and Portugal during the Napoleanic Wars. Both the setting and style reminded me of Carla Kelly--there are some gritty scenes of survival that are a far cry from Almack's or the Pump Room. The H/H are thrown together when their military convoy encounters a French detachment. They flee and make their way back to the main British encampment by themselves.

Forced to rely on each other, the heroine, a well-bred lady, and the hero, a smart, well-read, but wholly unsuitable sergeant in the 95th Rifles, forge a bond that rapidly develops into love. Fraser's writing is straightforward and unadorned, a style that works effectively to convey the setting of war-torn Spain in the summer--hot, dry, and dangerous.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is, at heart, a story of two decent people doing their best to survive the miserable circumstances in which they find themselves. Fraser succeeds in making their class differences believable, but ultimately surmountable, given the characters of the H/H. She was smart to make the heroine Scottish, and therefore less rigid and high-on-the-instep than an English heroine with a similar lineage.

I have no doubt that I'll be rereading this book, along with anything else that Susanna Fraser writes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this review! I'm glad you enjoyed my book.