REVIEW: Yours with Love by Mary Burchell
The scheme would be of mutual benefit
When Jason Kent literally crashed into Virginia’s life, he turned her whole world upside down. In return for a large sum of money, he asked her to pose as his mistress so that his wife would divorce him.
Virginia agreed because it meant she could finance her younger brother’s artistic career.
But would she have been so willing if she had known the full impact Jason Kent would have on her life?
With the Open Library not having wait lists, this the perfect time to read some of these older books which haven’t been digitalized yet. Royce asked about me reviewing this one a few days ago and here we go. I have to be honest and say that at first, I had some reservations. The age difference is about 15 years, the heroine is 18 when the book starts, and the hero is one of these cold and ruthless businessmen. Plus there’s a younger brother for whom the heroine is ready to go into martyr mode – though she is also willing to throw herself into the hero’s scheme in order to escape a perfectly horrid Aunt. But I kept reading and in the end, was rewarded.
There are some aspects of this book that seem out of sync with its 1980 copyright date. The first part of the story set up just has to be accepted. Hero smashes his car into the wall outside the heroine’s (horrid) aunt’s house, the responding ambulance crew doesn’t take the badly injured patient to a hospital or even to a local doctor’s clinic much less to London. No, instead they haul him into the (horrid) aunt’s house and up the stairs to a bedroom. The local doctor (who also has an office in London on Harley Street) drops in every now and then and a district nurse pokes her head in every so often but the bulk of the nursing care – which basically consists of the heroine sitting up at night with the hero and getting him warm drinks – gets dumped on Virginia. Does she have any nursing training or skills? Nope. Hero who is rich as Croesus ought to have been able to spring for private nursing. I guess this all would have made more sense if the book had taken place in the 50s or 60s but then the story wouldn’t have been jump started so — okay.
After Virginia pours out her hatred of living with her (horrid) aunt and then the story of how miserable her younger brother is in his London office job (he ought to be painting), the hero cooks up a scheme to benefit them both. Virginia will move to London, be installed in Jason’s posh house (never mentioned where but it’s in one of those squares with a gated park in the middle), and act as “the other woman” that will get Jason’s (cold, heartless bitch of a) wife to divorce him. In return, Virginia will get enough moolah to help her brother in his art career and free herself from her (horrid) aunt.
Only of course things don’t end up going that way. Instead, after one day Jason brutally dismisses Virginia from her “job,” offers her a much smaller sum of money, and Virginia finds herself wandering the streets then heading back to an acquaintance to had promised not to say “I told you so” after hearing part of the initial plans. Will Virginia crawl back to the horrid aunt or pull herself up and take control of her life?
First off – massive kudos to whatever artist did the cover for this book. There’s Virginia, Jason, the bunch of violets which actually play quite a big walk on role in the story as well as the portrait of Virginia that also has a secondary role. Booyah.
Now for the story. When Virginia first talks about her brother, he comes off as a spineless whinger who can only moan to his sister about how unhappy he is. Richard shapes up later though so he got back on my good side. I also liked the friend and her cousin who end up helping Virginia get on her feet after Jason dumps her. Mary Burchell loved opera and music and characters involved in those arts usually come off well in her books. I suppose she knew little about nursing and injuries (hence how unbelievable the first scenes in this book are) and didn’t care much for painters as Richard’s patron comes off as a self important blowhard rather than treated with reverence as temperamental geniuses as are Burchell’s Great Men of opera.
Virginia’s (horrid) aunt is a throwback to earlier days, too. And she really is a piece of work, make no mistake. Though in a way, it’s partly due to her and the way she raised Virginia to be so sheltered and unworldly that Jason has his epiphany. Yes, Jason’s attitude seems to turn on a dime but as the book progressed, I was glad he did what he did as he had good reason. In the interval before THE END, Virginia stands up on her own two feet, learns her value, makes friends, and becomes her own woman. When she and Jason (we all knew it would happen) finally get back together, the age difference doesn’t bother me and I feel she’s more his equal. He seems to feel this, too, and once he explains why he did what he did, Virginia is ready to forgive as well as love him. I wonder if Burchell’s long time readers were a little shocked that her heroine was going to end up with (gasp) a divorced man? Maybe the book is more a 1980s story than I first thought? B
This book is available to borrow from Open Library and there are also some inexpensive used copies to be found.