Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser

The story starts out with Jack Armstrong returning home to England after living life as a military man for the past five years in the wilds of Canada. He is returning home to an estate and a wife whom he married in name only and hasn’t seen since the day he married her five years ago. All those many years ago, he went to visit one of his lifelong friends, Giles Hamilton. Giles had only just married. When Jack arrived, it was to find his friend gravely ill and his new bride Elizabeth grief-stricken. While on his deathbed, Giles makes his friend and his wife promise to marry so that his wife will be taken care of when he’s gone. Though shocked, they both agree. After Giles dies, Elizabeth tries to let Jack off the hook but Jack says he is honor bound to keep the promise. After getting his new wife set up at his estate, Jack immediately takes off back to the military. The marriage is never consummated before his leaving. While gone, they exchange letters. While not amorous in nature, Elizabeth is extremely heartened by the missives from Jack and starts to have tender feelings toward him. However, about two years into their marriage, Jack’s mother dies. Elizabeth had been her caretaker while he was away. It’s at this time that a gossipy matron brings Elizabeth stories of Jack’s current liaisons with all kinds of women from a native woman to a married woman. She tells Elizabeth that no one is even aware he is married because of how flagrantly he flaunts his conquests. She tries not to show how hurt she is by this news. She had never believed that her husband gotten from a deathbed promise, marriage never consummated, would be entirely faithful while he was away in the military. However, she thought that he did have more respect for her than these wild tales of his escapades would have her believe. So when his mother dies, she sends him a shorter, more curt note than was her custom. Meanwhile, Jack notices the difference in his wife’s letters which he actually enjoyed and wonders for the reason. What the old gossip had told his wife was pretty much accurate except that he was foolish and arrogant enough to believe that she would never find out. When he comes home at last, he brings his wife presents in hopes to soften her up so she will fall in with his plans to start producing an heir. He is very surprised to find a more confident woman, made more attractive by that confidence. In no time, without any shouting or violence, just with clever maneuvering, Elizabeth is able to get him to explain himself and to let him know how things will be from now on. Jack agrees to start being faithful if she eventually provides him with children. However she says that they have to get to know each other and ease into a physical relationship at her comfort level. I really didn’t think I would like this book because of Jack’s past behavior. However once he came home, this became a really sweet love story as they got to know and appreciate each other. As their relationship progresses and you watch them fall in love, you become more invested in the story. In spite of all obstacles, their love wins out. I would definitely try another book by this author.

No comments:

Post a Comment