My Darling Kate
My Darling Kate is one big misunderstanding on top of itself, and yet it is a thoroughly engaging read. It all begins when Katherine Shaw arrives at Chesapeake Bay to marry Nicholas Talbot. Unfortunately, Nicholas thinks it is his sweet Alyssa who will be arriving – Katherine is her older sister. While the reality is that Alyssa jilted Nicholas in favor of a new beau, Nicholas is convinced that Kate has arranged things so that she could come to American for “the good life”. Unfortunately, “the good life” is not to be found after a devastating fire destroyed much of what Nicholas has been working for during the past five years.
Kate has secretly harbored feelings for Nicholas and hoped that her coming to America to marry him would be the start of a new life for her. She’s always worked hard and can’t believe Nicholas blames her for Alyssa’s defection. Awaiting her is not the man of her dreams, but an angry man who blames her for the ruin of his own. Because Nicholas paid her passage from England, she is now indebted to him and agrees to become his maid and take care of his two nieces until she has paid him back.
The sexual sparks between these two characters sizzle from the start. A stolen kiss convinces each to stay away from the other – Nicholas is sure she is using her womanly wiles to ensnare him and she is petrified of losing her heart to a man who despises her. And so the tango begins, a passionate and strong dance between two passionate and strong people.
The secondary characters bring added humor, warmth, and intensity to the story. One of the nieces doesn’t particularly want Kate around; she purposely gives Kate the wrong recipe for one of Nicholas’ favorite dishes and it’s so bad the youngster doesn’t even want to slop the pigs with it for fear it will make them sick. There is a subplot involving a wealthy family that allows the author to explore domestic abuse, but it stops short of the ending I’d hoped for. This loose end will likely bother readers because it seemed as though the author just forgot about it. And, another subplot, which explains the fire, sort of fizzles at the end as well.
Still, My Darling Kate is an engaging read because the author resolved the love and trust issues so well. Kate wouldn’t admit her true feelings because she felt they were one sided and Nicholas refused to face his. Once he did, he wouldn’t admit his true feelings because she wouldn’t. These two find a way to muck things up every time, and while this can be frustrating, it makes for an exciting read.
Yes, you’ve read this all before, but this tango is filled with interesting steps, lots of changes of direction, and a great dip at the end. You will come to care about Kate and Nicholas, even though you will be furious about their pigheadedness. Small steps, remember, small steps. Like the time when Kate makes Nicholas a Christmas present but he doesn’t do anything for her. It hurts, and he sees it, but why should he get her anything? Months later he rectifies the matter, but a new problem has arisen at the same time which keeps these two apart.
My Darling Kate relies on these intricately plotted points at just the right moment, all of which finally come together in the end. If you are a reader who dislikes romances where it takes the entire book before a commitment is made, this book could change your mind. It changed mine.