Sunday, 20 July 2014

Latest Historical Review


Reviewed by Lorraine:

Forever Winter by Amber Daulton

1834. Susanna, spirited and determined youngest child of Lord and Lady Lorican, has planned her wedding to take place on Christmas Eve, to commemorate the first kiss she shared with Camden, Viscount Beckinworth. She declared when only six years old that she would one day marry Camden, the son of family friends; and now, aged twenty, after two failed Seasons, her dream is about to come true. They have already shared one night of illicit passion, proving that they are compatible in every way, and are very keen for the wedding to go ahead as planned.

On the appointed morning, however, Susanna wakes up to snow. It’s the first of several catastrophes to strike, including the unhorsing of the celebrant, and the failed delivery of the dress. Finally, Lord Lorican decides that the wedding must be postponed.

Susanna realises how selfish she has been to take over Christmas, with no regard for the people of the estate, or her own family and friends. She agrees that it should be delayed until the spring, even though she yearns to be with her beloved Camden.

Falling foul of her brother-in-law Lord Gaynor’s lust, she is forced to fight for her virtue. Her eldest sister’s disastrous marriage serves to underline how lucky she is in her choice of husband – if only the wedding can go ahead, and if they can avoid a scandalous law suit from the wealthy earl.

There are a few problems, particularly with characters stomping, and tunnelling their hair. Camden wears his tied back in a ribbon, which would be seen as very odd for a fashionable gentleman in 1830s England.  He would not have been leaving for Eton for the first time at eighteen.

There are Americanisms that grate: huckleberries and galax make very unlikely appearances in the decorations, and Susanna would not have used the expression ‘hogtied’.  

This is a sweet novella, in which the heroine, who at first appears a demanding and spoilt girl, learns a little humility.  The hero is a reformed rake, with the care of his chosen and much-loved bride at the heart of everything he does. They are depicted as modern aristocrats, involved in the welfare of their dependents and also having an interest in business; but the darker side of upper class mores is also shown.

A short romance set against a well-sketched background of 1830s England, this is a pleasant, unchallenging read.