Monday, August 15, 2005

Till Next We Meet by Karen Ranney

It's taken me a while to figure out how I feel about this book, but the longer I think about it the less I like it. Catherine marries Harry who's a complete ass; a gambler, womanizer, and fortune hunter. After one month of marriage he can't wait to get away from her and he buys a commission in the army. He writes beautiful letters home to Catherine and she falls in love with him through the letters. He dies. Here's the Big Secret (not a spoiler). Moncrief, Harry's commanding officer has been answering her letters not Harry. Harry could care less about his wife (or is that couldn't care less, I never know which is correct). She goes into a major depression, becomes addicted to laudanum, and takes an overdose.

Moncrief arrives in the nick of time. Saves her by dunking her is a bath of cold water, sees her naked which compromises her, and marries her while she is still in a drugged stupor. The whole plot is implausible as hell. She wakes up with him in her bed. No reaction, nada... OK, maybe if she is still under the effects of a powerful drug like laudanum I can maybe see this. But he carts her off almost immediately to his family home (a castle - he's a duke). She won't consummate the marriage. He agrees to wait a month but insists they still sleep together in the same bed (*rolls eyes*).

Amazingly, I thought it was very well written and the story never dragged. At first I thought Catherine was the real problem with this book but her story is fairly believable. Harry could have made himself very charming to fool unsuspecting women. Moncrief is the problem here. Why doesn't he reveal himself as the author of the letters soon after he marries her? After all, if you find someone who blandly accepts waking up in bed with a complete stranger, being forceably married, and hauled off to a strange home without a squeak of protest then why not reveal a little thing like writing a few letters in her husband's name? In the meantime more secrets are revealed when Catherine discovers what a bounder Harry is from people who knew him before he died. Murder plot inserted here.

My Grade: C- (should have been lower but I gave points for her writing style and moving the plot along at a decent pace.)

I can't recommend it but I can recommend some Ranney's books I liked better: Upon a Wicked Time, After the Kiss, and My Beloved.

BTW, I took My Surrender (Brockway) back to the library. My Grade: DNF

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