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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the history buffs and the romatics
This "true" story of Juana and Henry Smith seems unbelievable. But truth is stranger than fiction. I've read a great deal of General Smith's biography and though Heyer certainy took liberties, the worst that can be said is that she toned down his (and other men's) adoration of his wife. This tale is singular in that in our cynical age it gives voice to a very real voice...
Published on February 4, 2005 by A. Crane

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A spoonful of romance makes the history easier to take
Harry Smith, age 26, married Juana, age 14, just after the Battle of Badajos. Marriage was actually the only option, as Juana came from a famiy of noble degree, which was well known to senior officers in the British Army. But what might have been a marriage of convenience was clearly a true romance, as is seen in this book. Juana is not anyone's idea of a Regency deb,...
Published on May 24, 2008 by NewDiane


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the history buffs and the romatics, February 4, 2005
By 
This review is from: The Spanish Bride (Hardcover)
This "true" story of Juana and Henry Smith seems unbelievable. But truth is stranger than fiction. I've read a great deal of General Smith's biography and though Heyer certainy took liberties, the worst that can be said is that she toned down his (and other men's) adoration of his wife. This tale is singular in that in our cynical age it gives voice to a very real voice of love and adoration in an age we almost believe to be a myth. Yes, it is battle heavy and if you have no interest in the Napoleanic Wars, you may become bored. But if you want to learn a great deal of the history of the period in an entertaining way, you can look to no better source. The scene at Waterloo is unforgettable.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful blend of military history and real-life love story, March 1, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Spanish Bride (Audio Cassette)
A wonderful book by Georgette Heyer, dealing with the true story of the marriage between Harry Smith, a brigade-major in Wellington army, and Juana, his Spanish bride. It's a marvelous blend of romance and history, and it has been very well researched. It would be interesting not only to Georgette Heyer fans, or those who love a good story, but for all the military buffs out there. I really reccomend i
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War, Romance, Humour and Tragedy.... and yes its true, August 3, 2000
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Another superb book from Georgette Heyer, focusing on the early life of Brigade Major Harry Smith and his marriage to a 14 orphaned Spanish girl in the midst of Wellington's Peninsular campaign. Unlike her other great Napoleonic book 'An Infamous Army' the principle characters in this book are based on actual people whom she vividly brings to life again.
The story begins with the battle and sacking of Badajos and continues right through the Peninsular campaign, drawing a wonderful tapestry around the hardships and privations suffered by the soldiers and civilians caught up in a global conflict.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Other Favorite, January 13, 2007
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This review is from: The Spanish Bride (Paperback)
The Spanish Bride is the fictionalized history of two very real individuals, Brigade-Major Harry Smith and 14 year old Juana who he rescued and married after the Siege of Badajos. Love at first sight for both of them, the story reads like a novel. It follows them through Wellington's campaigne through Portugal, Spain and southern France. It ends with their reunion on the battlefield after Waterloo.

One of two books dealing with the Napoleonic Wars in which battles are described so accurately they have been used by the English Public School System, Georgette Heyer proved beyond doubt her mastery of historic detail.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the "usual, frothy" Heyer fare, December 8, 2006
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This review is from: The Spanish Bride (Paperback)
People who are expecting the "usual" Heyer frothy Regency novel will not like this book.

HOWEVER if you, like me, have read every Georgette Heyer book (yes, I have!) AND are interested in her really excellent HISTORICAL "narratives" (such as "The Conqueror" and the combined fictional romance/true story of Waterloo: "An Infamous Army", wherein she tells true history but must call it a novel), you will love this book.

According to Jane Aiken Hodge's definitive biography, "The Private World of Georgette Heyer" (long out of print and available now HERE in trade PB), this book is based in the memoirs of Capt. Harry Smith of the famous 95th Rifle Brigade, the only "foot regiment" to have "modern" Baker rifles and the first to wear "camouflage" colored uniforms.

While not an easy read, it is of interest to any wanting to know more about the Peninsular War and what it was like to be in Wellington's Army. It is not surprising that few if any books exist that delve into that world as Harry Smith's memoirs and this book do, as it was dull stuff compared to romantic fiction. But it is real and accurate, as is the Waterloo narrative in "An Infamous Army", which is told from the viewpoint of a fictional character whio was in the thickest of the action. (Noted historian Christopher Hibbert once called it "The best told narrative of the battles of Waterloo I have ever read" or words to that effect.)

If you want to get "into" the world of the Peninsular War, you will have to read this book. It is a great resource for would-be authors who cannot find a copy of Capt. Smith's memoirs.

This story is indeed true, though "Heyer-ized". Harry Smith did indeed rescue Juana from the marauding and victorious British troops after the devastating and bloody siege of Badajoz and marry her. The marauding lasted three days until Wellington began hanging the offenders. Wellington never approved of "revenging" the dead British troops, but the siege lasted so long and the victory cost so much that there was no stopping the men short of killing them, which many officers like Harry Smith did.

Juana did "follow the drum" with Harry throughout the rest of the Peninsular War and Waterloo. Other nonfiction biographies and write-ups of the period usually mention his memoirs as reference material. Harry and Juana were very well known and liked by troops from all regiments and of all ranks.

Harry Smith was very unusual; he made the Army his career as he had no other and he was not of the aristocracy. But he was in the right place; at a time when "rising through the ranks" was not possible without wealth (as officers were usually "commissioned", that is, they bought their rank), he eventually rose to Brigadier General rank. The 95th was really the only regiment where this was possible. In other regiments, he might have remained a sergeant his entire career.

Serious Wellington, Regency and Heyer fans must have this book in their collection. Again, not everyone will like it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A spoonful of romance makes the history easier to take, May 24, 2008
This review is from: The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War (Paperback)
Harry Smith, age 26, married Juana, age 14, just after the Battle of Badajos. Marriage was actually the only option, as Juana came from a famiy of noble degree, which was well known to senior officers in the British Army. But what might have been a marriage of convenience was clearly a true romance, as is seen in this book. Juana is not anyone's idea of a Regency deb, following the drum, ministering to wounded soldiers, and making herself universally beloved...while having a fiery temper and a penchant for slapping, throwing things, and cursing! Heyer took her details from biographies of those who knew both Harry and Juana, as well as the memoirs of Harry.

But this is more of a history of the Peninsular campaign than a romance novel. Heyer skillfully uses amusing or pithy anecdotes to convey her information, making it easier to read what might otherwise be extremely tedious. By inserting snippets of Harry and Juana's life in amongst the battle details, the reader is encouraged to keep going.

Overall, I think you need to be very interested in military history to get full enjoyment from this book. However, you can easily skip the history and concentrate on the romance, and still have a fun read. I would have loved to learn how Harry and Juana spent the rest of their lives, after Waterloo, as this energetic and passionate couple didn't seem made for peaceful times.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beat the drum for this fantastic regency, May 22, 2008
This review is from: The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War (Paperback)
I've just taken to rereading Heyer's novels, and this one is definitely my favourite so far.

Based on the true story of Harry and Juana Smith, this is romance without the gloss. No beautiful houses, fantastic scenery, balls, frills and furbelows. It's full of blood and guts, and if anyone ever doubted the existence of feisty heroines during the Regency period, then Juana definitely provides the proof. Married to Harry at 14, she followed the drum with him, and this novel covers the period of their lives from just before Badajos through Waterloo.

Having read some of B-M Smith's memoirs, I think Heyer has probably put a little gloss on her portrayal of him, since I felt he sounded somewhat pompous and self-absorbed, but there's little doubt he and his fellow comrades-at-arms truly did adore Juana. Heyer has obviously done her research and gives a real flavour of the privations suffered during the wars, particularly those on the Iberian Peninsula. Her descriptions of the battles and their aftermath definitely don't spare the reader's sensibilities. That said, if you are not interested in this era of British history, or find lengthy descriptions of battles and strategy not to your taste, then you should probably skip this one.

Personally I loved it - and I believe it's one of her best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Spanish bride, February 22, 2007
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This review is from: The Spanish Bride (Paperback)
A nice way of learning history is to read romances set in particular periods and this is where Georgette Heyer excels. Crisp descriptions of places, of people. At the end of this volume, one gets to know more about the state of the troops in Spain, the privations that they faced, the heroic deeds they committed. Despite the general `languishing' nature of women in that era, Georgette Heyer's heroines were never insipid and Juana, the fiery Spaniard and child bride of Brigade Major Harry Smith is no exception as she takes on the rigors of camp life and the army on the move. Excitement and romance blend in a way that makes you to read on till the very end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a combination....., August 29, 2009
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dcooper53 (Sacramento, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War (Paperback)
This Georgette Heyer combines wonderful word pictures of life "following the drum" as well as a great romance. The fact that these were real characters from history adds a certain spice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Winning Bride, October 12, 2009
This review is from: The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War (Paperback)
Does one find romance amid the horrors of war? Brigade-Major Harry Smith is going to give it a try as Juana, a Spanish child of 14 is trust into his protection by her sister after the Seige of Badajos. There is only one solution for an army on the move, the young man will marry her against the wishes of all concerned.
So begin the story taken from real life of the gallent young woman who could not speak English and her reckless husband who eventually climbs to the rank of general.
A historial of fine deminsions and minute details of the Pensular Wars against the French.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.
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The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War
The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War by Georgette Heyer (Paperback - April 1, 2008)
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