Miss Whittier Makes a List
Have I mentioned how happy I am for indie presses, self-publishing, and the internet lately? I am. I really am. Normally, in the old days, I’d have to scour the internet for those old Carla Kelly Signet Regencies, and save up for outrageous amounts. But reprints are fantastic (especially once you’ve regained your author rights, presumably). So everyone, go out and buy Miss Whittier Makes a List. Right now. No “if you likes”, or “just in cases” – just do it. Buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
This oldie goodie isn’t a 100% shining example of Carla Kelly’s talent – there are some hurried resolutions at the end that prevent utter perfection – but it’s still a jolly good story. It reminds me of Sharon and Tom Curtis’ The Windflower, except Hannah-the-captured-American is far less wail-y than Merry Wilding, and like all Carla Kelly books there’s a very real historical thread to the story that grounds all doings – and characters – in reality.
Hannah is an American Quaker and Captain Daniel Spark is British – they have conflicting priorities. Daniel is a knight of the realm, but that’s it; no duke’s heir is he, and he’s going to continue sailing the seas. And how is it they meet? He impresses sailors from Hannah’s ship to serve the British navy, and in case you’re unaware of what that means (as I was), it means he kidnapped them and press-ganged them into involuntary service for a hated, if not outright enemy, country.
But that’s what happens in life, right? Few circumstances are “ideal”, and some are worse than others, but you make of it what you will. In this case, Hannah and Daniel form an unlikely friendship, then romance, between a 17-year-old list-making innocent and a 30-year-old sea dog. Their nationalities, ages, and respective propensities do cause trouble between them (Hannah’s list, FYI, is comprised of the qualities she’d like to have in a husband, of which Daniel fits almost none), but darned if they don’t work it out warm fuzzy fashion.
Miss Whittier Makes a List is a fine addition to my growing list of shipboard romances. I’ve been thinking what it is that makes the subgenre so attractive, and I think it’s the combination of close quarters and heightened awareness, bringing out the best and worst in characters (and in the authors), and unpredictability. Anything can happen on a ship – it can go anywhere, be attacked by anyone, be hit by any storm – and that’s what keeps us on our toes. After that, it’s up to the author to make of the circumstances what they will, and I appreciate that Ms. Kelly always brings an extraordinary magic to both the prosaic and the unusual.
|Review Date:||March 21, 2013|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Historical Romance|
|Review Tags:||age gap | British Navy | Napoleonic wars | Quaker | shipboard romance | slow burn | War of 1812 | Young United States era|