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We meet Michael Rheese in 1809 at Talavera in Spain. He is wounded and accompanied by some other soldiers who are badly wounded too. They have been left behind by the General Cuesta. Rheese knows they have to keep moving or be taken by the French army that was on their heels.
They arrive at the hacienda of Dona Maria Gutierrez y Valdez. At one time Dona Maria's hacienda was thriving and rich, now because of war and frequent lootings, Dona and her meager household is impoverished. She worries about the fate of her beautiful granddaughter Eva.
When she see Michael Rheese, she thinks up a perfect plan. She asks Michael to marry Eva and take her away to England. In return, she will care for the invalid soldiers in his company. Rheese and Eva agree to this for their own reasons. Rheese wants his friends to be cared for, as they are wounded and cannot travel. Eva has to agree for her Grandmother's sake.
In a dim light, where they can barely make out each others' faces, they are married. The same night, again in pitch dark they leave the hacienda. That very night, a few hours later, Rheese is taken by the French and Eva lies in a ditch in a faint.
Six years later, Eva learns that her husband is still alive. All she has is a marriage certificate and the ring her husband had given her at the wedding. She travels to England to find her husband who lives in Brigford Manor. On her way there, she runs into a Mr. Denborough who is sometimes helpful, sometimes in the way and sometimes plain annoying. Eva must not think about this handsome stranger and instead concentrate on getting to her lawfully wedded husband.
Here is a book which is all about romance. Eva is married to man she has not even properly seen and been without for six years. She is not even sure if her husband remembers being married to her, or worse, if he wants her at all. She has pieced together whatever little money she could manage to gather and come in search of her husband. Will it end well for her?
The book is well written and the reader is kept turning the pages. All the characters, Michael Rheese, Denborough, Dona Maria, are very well etched. I love that it is set in Regency Period, just when Austen's Sense and Sensibility came out.
It could have been a bit shorter. Romances are not usually such long reads.
The subtitle says "A period romance (War Brides Book 1). This means we can look forward to many such books by Lynn Bishop which is the pen name of Madhulika Liddle of Muzaffar Jung fame.