Sunday, May 17, 2015

Carla Kelly - The Lady's Companion

Miss Susan Hampton was a lady born and bred. She never imagined she would have to make her own way in the world. But that was before her feckless father gamed away the family estate. That was before her odious aunt turned her into an unpaid servant. Now Susan had fled that tyranny- only to wonder if she had leapt out of the frying pan into the fire.
In a remote country manor, Susan took the post of companion to the Dowager Lady Bushnell, whose fiery temper made a dragon seem sweet. But even more dangerous was the dowager's boldly handsome bailiff, David Wiggins, whose blood was red, not blue, and who was everything a man could be except a gentleman. Desperately, Susan told herself that he was totally unsuitable as her suitor - even as this infuriatingly irresistible man awoke her as a woman and made her forget she was a lady...

Comment: This another title by the author I've had in my TBR for a while now. This book earned a RITA so I was very curious to see if I'd enjoy it as much as others must have for it to win. 

This is the story of Susan Hampton. When the story begins, Susan is desperate because her father is a gambler who can't understand his choices aren't doing them any good and they end up losing their house too. While going to her aunt's house, where Susan knows her life will be one of duty and obligation towards her aunt, her father keeps unaware of how much Susan is hurting. When he steals something dear to her  to gamble again, she makes the decision of looking after herself and the beat way to do it realistically is to find a job.
Although her family and society won't accept her new paid work, she knows it's the only way to have something, to be independent. She accepts an offer to be a paid companion in a remote place to an older woman who most likely won't like her but it's the bailiff, David Wiggins, that entices her and teaches what it's like to live, to be fair, to be honorable...

Once again, I had a wonderful time being immersed in a story by this author. Although my least favorite stories by her were a bit disappointing, I can't help but admit that when a book by her is a hit for me, it is totally deserved.
One of the reasons I love this author's work is the fact most her heroines are impoverished or down on their luck and honestly I have much more appreciation for someone who has problems but finds a way to keep going than someone who has it all. Anyway, I think this author's stories are full of amazing scenes and I'm always hopeful to see how I will feel happy about the heroines' fate.

Susan is an amazing heroine. She knows she doesn't have the means to change what has been lost to her but I felt sad when she suffered the loss of her dreams and when her father took her last hope about a come out in society. But she tried to change her fate and I applaud her for that. If there's one thing I like is how people still find something to give them strength. I wish it was so easy in RL to do so when we're down on out luck.
Susan accepted a job offer and her wold changed. It wasn't just her poor means, she met people who cared about her, she fell in love and she gained the caring of an old women who also felt alone, although for different reasons.
Even when her family did things that hurt her, Susan kept her trust on the man she loved and on the circle of new friends she gained. Really, hope it's this, it lets you dream and want...

David is an intriguing character. He seems something  and then we learn about his past and his choices, the experienced he went though. Again, he is a well made character and I liked how his relationship with Susan was slowly developed but strongly shaped.

The plot also revolves around Susan's employer and how she was such a brave women during the Napoleonic wars. This also connected to David's life as a military man and together with Susan, they make a complex circle of things to learn, things to explain, things that needed to be shared before any could accept what was to come. I found some passages very emotional and the end was also very strong and special.

This story isn't perfect though, because personally I would have preferred that David and Susan's relationship could be a bit more passionate. I understand why not, but still. 
Also some scenes were a bit more dragging than I hoped for, but overall, a success.

I'm very pleased with this, all things considered. I'm happy the HEA happened and how Susan went from a despairing situation to love and happiness. I really wish it was so simple for everyone to be so in RL.
Grade: 8/10

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