The Mercenary Major Kindle Edition
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Victoria`s mother died when she was young. Her father was still in mourning for her. But Victoria was ready to move on with life, and she goes to London for the Little Season. She goes with her good friend who just happens to be Jack`s cousin. Victoria is strong willed and determined to marry for love.
Jack is staying in the city with his mother's sister, Letty. She is determined to prove Jack is her nephew. Her brother, Jack`s uncle, is just as determined to prove he is a fraud. But his reasons have more to do with keeping the inheritance for himself.
There is rioting and unrest among the impoverished people in the city. Victoria and her friends are caught up in a riot but saved by Jack. The instant attraction between the heroine and hero are evident. He knows he should run from her but cannot quite bring himself to do so. Matters are made even more difficult when Victoria and her friend, Jack's cousin, come to stay in Letty's house. Having Victoria so near to him is torture.
He is accused of being a fraud and mercenary, but he has no intention of marrying for money. He wants a marriage that is equal in love and finances.
There are riots, spies, conniving women and danger -- but all along Jack and Victoria stick together even though she at first wants to prove him to be an impostor.
I really liked the characters, and I wanted so much for them to see they were meant for each other.
So, good story and endearing characters. The sexual tension had just the right balance without getting too descriptive. I would have loved to know some of the phrases Jack mutters in Spanish. I would like to improve my own vocabulary.
The story was very interesting and had a great balance of intrigue and romance, neither of which was too extremely detailed (I would rate it PG). The cast of characters were well-rounded and romance between Victoria and Jack started slowly and developed at a wonderful pace; however, just as they crossed the threshold to true love, boom! the story ends. A more satisfying ending would have included the H&h enjoying each other without the burden of "the big misunderstanding" or riot crowds surrounding them. I also thought it was a bit too pat for all leading characters to decide upon marriage simultaneously.
I would rate this a 3.5-4 stars. I would have rated it higher but for the ending.
Mercenary Major is also a Victorian novel, set in London after the protagonist, Jack Amberly, returns from his stint as a major in the Napoleonic Wars, and that intensifies the romantic formula. (I read a lot of Victorian novels in college and remember wanting to shout at the characters,"Don't just sit there persevorating, do something.")
The twist is that though Jack is to the manor born, his parents died when he was young and he ran away to live the life of a thief and swashbuckler in the streets of Spain and when he returns to England to look up his Aunt Letitia, her family and friends accuse him of being an imposter. Among those family friends is Victoria, the heroine, who is coming out in London society. She is immediately attracted to Jack, as he is to her, but he is much too rough-edged for her, and she is persuaded, at first, about the imposter accusations.
She must be beautiful because there's not much else to recommend her to a well-travelled man like Jack. But then, I can't help but feel sorry for these poor upper-class girls, who are relegated to teas and dances and sheltered from anything consequential. What boring lives they must have led.
I would have liked to learn a bit more of the history of the time. Part of the backdrop of the book is a kind of "Occupy London" uprising of the lower classes, but I never exactly understood what was going on, other than poverty and inequality. Jack travels easily among this crowd, and Victoria makes herself much more interesting as a character when she accompanies Jack for a day in his world. She relishes the danger and uncertainty in it.
Kate Moore makes the characters three dimensional and that kept me reading even when the plot was too slow or complicated.
Oh, in the end they get together.
-- John Byrne Barry, author of Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher.
Anyway, out of all Ms Kate Moore's regency stories that I had read, this is the most insipid and unsatisfying novel/ story. She can do better.