Tuesday, April 29, 2008

With This Ring, Carla Kelly

Title: With This Ring
Author: Carla Kelly
Published: 1997, Signet
Category: Regency Romance
Rating: 6/10

I am still working my way through Carla Kelly's backlist. :)

Lydia Perkins comes to London with her (horrible!) family so that her younger sister can have a Season and hopefully snag herself a rich husband. Her sister is the spoiled beauty, while Lydia is the sensible spinster who is a bit martyred as she deals with her overbearing mother, demanding sister, and weak father. One day she goes to help nurse wounded soldiers and meets Major Sam Reed. She earns everyone's gratitude and goodwill by being such a steady and caring nurse--Sam is especially smitten. Soon after, Lydia manages to disgrace herself in the eyes of polite society (by offending an amoral young lord), and her family practically kicks her out. Sam has the perfect solution: marry him, as he has great need of a wife anyway.

I have to say this one didn't work for me quite as well of most of Kelly's books. I liked the characters--the H/H are a standard Kelly couple: Sam is very honorable and a bit world-weary; Lydia is pragmatic and sensitive. My problem with the book is some of the incredibility (is that a word?) of the plot.

What I generally love about most Kelly books is that they are so real (by romance novel standards). The characters are normal, everyday people--not your lords and ladies of most Regencies. The problems that befall them are problems that normal people have, and they deal with those problems in realistic ways. But Sam and Lydia did the most incredible things! Sam has been lying to his mother for two years, making up stories about how he's been married and had a baby. He actually expects Lydia to play along with this story once they've returned to his home--lying to his mother forever about who she is. And she agrees to it! Then they just drop by an orphanage one day and pick up a child, like it's not one of the biggest decisions you could possibly make. Are these the actions of rational people?

So, yes, the plot annoyed me. In anyone else's hands the book would have been a total loss. But it was saved by the interesting historical detail and nice characters. I did enjoy it, just not as much as the other Kelly books I've read.


Rosario said...

Yeah, this one didn't work as well for me as Kelly's usually do, either. In addition to the plot thing, I also thought Sam and Lydia were a little bit meh together.

jmc-bookrelated said...

A lot of the plot was very farcical, I thought, and I just had to suspend my disbelief.

What I liked best, though, was watching Lydia realize that she was capable of taking care of herself and of others, and learn that she was worth more than she or anyone else had given her credit for in the past.

Jennie said...

Rosario--They were a little meh--to be honest I couldn't get over the fact that Sam expected Lydia to lie about who she was. What kind of relationship would that be?!

jmc--The plot was farcical--it just seemed odd to me. But I did like the part where Lydia takes charge. Her martyrdom at the beginning was a bit annoying, but she totally made up for it by saving them both later in the story. :)

Keishon said...

I started this book and was going to do it for TBR Day last month but couldn't past the evil sister. Think I'll tackle To Have and To Hold by Gaffney that I see on your sidebar. Never read it.


Jennie said...

Keishon--The evil sister was really annoying, though once Lydia leaves home (fairly early in the book) you don't have to see her anymore. I really liked To Have and To Hold--a bit angsty, but mostly just good story. :)