Kate Millbank had known David Merritt from the time they were children together. So she was thrilled to hear that the major was returning from the wars. What she hadn’t considered was that war might have changed David into someone angry and bitter. Or that she had no business pining for the illegitimate son of an illicit liaison. But Kate believed in miracles.
First Published: 1993
We first meet DAVID MERRITT as he makes his way to his father’s sickbed. David himself is not well having sustained an injury during military service and its obvious he’s labouring under some great distress regarding his cousin Kate.
KATE MILLBANK – David’s cousin – is digging in the ruins of a Roman villa when we first meet her, the owner of “a cloud of fiery red hair and a pair of enormous hazel eyes”. She too is labouring under some distress regarding her cousin David and an argument they had many years ago.
And so the scene is set…can they resolve this distress that both are labouring under? And what about David’s illegitimacy? How can either of them look past that?
What did I like about this book?
The bits about the Roman villa.
Seriously that’s all I liked about this book sadly. Although I didn’t mind Buried Secrets (published 7 years after this book), this book really wasn’t able to hold my attention. I found myself skipping vast chunks of description (and there are vast chunks in this book) simply to get to the action.
What didn’t I like about this book?
The vast chunks of description were a major mood killer for me. It took ages to get to any action, with approximately the first quarter of the book spent reading about Kate and David’s mutual, yet unexpressed, despair, longing and unhappiness as well as descriptions of Kate’s amazing hair. (I’ll get to the hair in a minute).
There’s also some stuff about David’s unhappy childhood and horrible family but really that could easily have been cut in half and still provided us with the same information.
And then, even after the action seems to start with a twist in David’s backstory, it doesn’t. The plot point happens and then there’s more talking and internal angst and distress. For almost another 25% of the book. Yep that’s right, its almost half way through the book before we get to the next plot point.
And what’s with the constant references to Kate’s hair being on fire?
“…so flamboyant was its color that one might have expected sparks to fly as a result.”
“…it blazed like a bonfire on midsummer’s eve.”
“…Kate’s hair seemed to take on an even more brilliant, flame-like hue until it appeared she might simply shoot skyward like a fireworks display.”
Seriously by the end of the book I fully expected Kate to have gone up in flames, courtesy of her flammable hair. Now that would have been a plot twist and a half!
But how did I feel at the end?
That’s really the important thing isn’t it? Did I feel the HEA was right? Did I feel happy or disappointed by the misunderstandings? Was I left with a warm and fuzzy feeling or wishing I could get my money back?
HEA – really by the time we got to the HEA I was so tired of the constant teenage angst and burning hair that I just wanted it over already.
Misunderstandings – they just kept on coming! And though Kate and David did talk and discuss the issues between them, there was a lot of internal despair (and description about the internal despair) before each conversation. Again, I just lost interest in them.
All in all, this book was much too slow paced for me, with too much description / internal angst and not enough action. Whilst I don’t wish I could get my money back, I won’t be re-reading this particular book any time soon.