REVIEW: The Captain’s Old Love by Mary Lancaster
His dashing days are behind him – until an old flame dances back into his life.
A hero of Trafalgar and many battle since, Captain Julius Vale, has retired from the Royal Navy and moved himself and all his siblings back to the family home near Blackhaven. Here, wounded and disillusioned, he seeks peace for himself, and happiness for his troubled brothers and sisters. He does not expect to encounter the woman who broke his heart ten years ago, and he certainly does not mean to make the mistake of falling for her again.
Antonia, now an impoverished widow and mother, is the paid companion of eccentric spinster, Miss Talbot, who is taking a course of the Blackhaven waters. Meeting Julius again is a shock. So is the fact that he clearly blames her for their parting when it was he who sailed away without a word of goodbye. And yet after only one dance, she begins to feel alive…
Amidst the tangle of anger, hurt and reigniting passion, they gradually realize the truth. But it seems that the same forces that parted them ten years ago are determined to do so again.
Unless they are strong enough this time to trust in each other.
Dear Ms. Lancaster,
It’s been years since I read “An Endless Exile,” but that book plus Jennie’s review of another book a few years ago made me think it was time I read another of yours. This one sounded like a nice, gentle second chance romance. Well, it did have that trope but it wasn’t quite what the blurb led me to expect.
There were actually several things that didn’t work for me about the story. It’s the first in a new series and tacks onto another long one set in this same area. Still it wasn’t the characters from the previous series who were the issue. The hero is one of nine children so all of them had to be introduced with little bits of information that I assume will play out in their own books. I can manage large casts of characters but I hate having them all dumped on me in one chapter especially if many of them have similar sounding names.
My preference for historicals is that they be as historically accurate as possible. “The Captain’s Old Love” turned out to seemingly be a weird mish-mash of accurate and historical-lite. One minute I was sinking into details and the next minute my fur was being rubbed the wrong way. The Vale family is also a mix of legitimate children plus two if not three illegitimate ones who boldly announce to almost total strangers that they are bastards. And despite having plenty of servants, the family always seemed to be meeting visitors’ carriages at the door, saddling their own horses, etc. I was astonished that the heroine’s father allowed her first marriage settlement to be bungled as badly as he did. But then her parents are a bunch of losers so being such idiots shouldn’t have surprised me. Although they began as strong characters, the heroine’s son and her employer faded into a plot moppet and a placeholder before too long.
Another issue for me was the number of plot threads going on. Second chance romance, smuggling, family issues, and abduction were the most prevalent with added hints of what might occur for other family members in future books. The romance actually started as enemies to lovers with convenient interruptions just as the hero and heroine might have cleared up their misunderstandings. Then things progressed from “let’s court and get to know each other as they are now” to (in the course of one day) “marry me” which was quickly (within minutes) finished up with “my bedroom is right down the hall.” It was all way too fast for me to buy into.
I might look into some other series or books and see if they work better for me but I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this one. C-