REVIEW: The Bishop’s Daughter by Susan Carroll
The reports of Harcourt Arundel’s death had been greatly exaggerated. But when the man who had earned the nickname Hellfire Harry turned up at his own memorial service, even he never imagined the sensation he would cause, especially with regards to Miss Kathryn Towers, the woman who had once refused his marriage proposal. Not only did Kate swoon at the sight of him, she kissed him passionately and then boxed his ears for causing her such grief. Hardly the sort of behavior one would expect from a prim and proper bishop’s daughter.
Kate had long ago determined she must wed the sort of sober and steady man her late father would have chosen, not a charming rogue like Harry, even if he did set her heart to racing. But now he was convinced Kate still loved him, he embarked on a campaign to show the stubborn bishop’s daughter, theirs was a match made in heaven.
Dear Ms. Carroll,
I was casting about for something to read and having recently finished another Regency book, the period was on my mind. This book has some good reviews and an intriguing blurb so Hellfire Harry and Kate it was.
Harcourt “Harry” Arundal, Lord Lytton is slowly making his way home after his injuries at Waterloo kept him in hospital. As he gets to his estate, he begins to wonder where everybody is and why his fields are only half harvested. He knows he’ll need to pay more attention to his steward from now on but even he thinks things should be further along and not left as he sees them. A brief encounter with one of his tenants – who initially staggers back from Harry like he’s a ghost – reveals all. The man really did think Harry was come back from the dead as word had reached them that Harry had died in that last charge. Hurrying on, Harry arrives at the dedication of a monument to his memory. Then busts out laughing.
Kathryn Towers is near to fainting in the heat and from the pain in her heart at the thought that she’ll never see Harry again or hear his booming laugh. They had unexpectedly met and courted but her stern father the Bishop had sat Kate down to warn her about wild hellions such as Lord Lytton. Stuffing her feelings away, Kate had turned down Harry’s proposal. When she hears laughter, she knows it must only be her imagination. Until, that is, she realizes it sounds familiar. She comes to inside Mapleshade with Harry frantically trying to bring her around. Half delirious with joy and half angry at the thought that playing dead was just another of his pranks, she kisses him then boxes him on his ear.
Harry couldn’t be happier though as he finally sees that Kate really does love him – or why else the kiss/smack. Now he feels he has a chance to get her to say yes to his marriage proposal. He’s got his work cut out for him. Will Kate put aside what her father told her? Can her indomitable grandmother contrive to “help” things along in the face of another strong willed female who is equally determined that Kate marry someone else? And what will happen when two ne’er-do-wells crash the estate fete?
I adored Harry. He’s lovable, open-hearted and as another character finally realizes he’s a people person instead of a thing person. Sure he sometimes has to have things that need fixing – such as tenant roofs – shoved in his face but he knows all the tenants by name and cares deeply enough to sacrifice things important to him to (okay, finally) see to repairs. He’s bound and determined to win Kate but he’s not obnoxious about it and backs off when Kate tells him to. I laughed too, reading about Kate watching him to see when it would finally hit him that she’d said yes.
Kate is a sweetie but Lord she’s set on a path and won’t deviate from it. Being the Bishop’s daughter colors everything she does or thinks she needs to be doing to the point where I wanted to shake her – many times. Thank goodness for Lady Dane – the unwavering tower of determination who is set on seeing her granddaughter find happiness with Harry. Yet it will take a mother’s more gentle touch and subtle maneuvering to see things to a HEA. Maisie Towers finds her voice at last. Yay for Harry but Kate and her stubbornness brings this grade down just a little. B