Author: Carla Kelly
Published: 2010, Harlequin
Category: Historical Romance
This is the third in Carla Kelly's new trilogy, and in my opinion the best one. It's about Polly Brandon, sister to the women in the first two books in the series. Polly is just 18, but she's decided that she wants to help out in some way during the Napoleonic War. She goes to stay with her sister, Laura, who works in a military hospital. On the voyage from England to Oporto, Portugal, she meets Hugh Junot, the Royal Marine of the title. They become great friends on the journey, but there are lots of impediments to any relationship: their age difference, her sisters' disapproval, each character's uncertainty that the other would return their affection, the war.
I enjoyed these characters more than I have the heros and heroines of the earlier books in this series. Carla Kelly's characters are always endearingly stalwart, and excruciatingly honorable, and good. And of course this is a good thing, but occasionally it crosses the line into gloomy for me. Polly and Hugh are a little lighter than some of her characters -- Polly is young and naive (but not stupid), and Hugh is refreshingly non-traumatized by the grueling war. He's a very attractive hero (and funny!).
The action in this book is also quite good -- I was reading the pages fast and furious. And that's really a bonus for a Carla Kelly book -- I generally read her books because I enjoy reading a romance about characters who actually seem like real people!