Monday, November 24, 2008

The Nomad Harp - Laura Matthews

Glenna Forbes played the harp exquisitely. Which was the major reason Philip Hobart had asked her to marry him. And reassuring her aging father was Glenna's real reason for accepting. Everything changed when the naval captain became a viscount--who expected a different kind of wife than independent Miss Forbes.

This is my second read by Matthews, I had always heard of her sensible characters and when I read the first I was caught by surprise, Lord Clayborne’s Fancy is full of angst and emotional turmoil and the characters are often not very sensible. I do like angst so I was disappointed.

I approached The Nomad Harp with considerable expectation, what kind of story would this be? Well it was a very interesting one!

Glenna Forbes knew her independence would be threatened by a husband, when a naval captain asked her to marry him it seemed the answer to her problems, she could marry, and reassure her father that she would be taken care of after he died, but her husband would spend much of his time at sea and she could still organise her life as she wanted to. Unfortunately Phillip Hobart unexpectedly becomes a viscount and while he feels any woman would be happy to be socially elevated Glenna surprises him by being disappointed in the fact that he now has to give up is life at sea. At Glenna’s insistence they break the betrothal.

While Phillip goes on to devote himself to the managing of his estates Glenna is left caring for her ailing father and after his death she finds herself in a difficult situation. Knowing that Phillip decides to help her and invites her to stay at one of his estates and help him manage it. He has his hands full with the bigger property and she would be doing him a favour he tells her.

I rather liked Phillip, he was not a very conventional man, and he was used to action and was more direct and forward than your usual regency hero. He offers Glenna the position and is very surprised that she actually helps him and finds good solutions to raise money and do renovations on the property. Glenna I had more problems with, she impulsively breaks their betrothal which seemed a bit out of character when she was such a level headed and sensible woman. While they are apart Phillip becomes betrothed to another woman and Glenna renews her acquaintance with an old suitor. They all come together in the country and it’s soon obvious that the young woman that Phillip is betrothed to is highly unsuitable for him and that he and Glenna would be well matched. Social rules don’t allow him to go back on his word though and all seems lost except...

The Nomad Harp gets the name from Glenna’s harp that she carries with her when she moves and in this book they move a lot. It was an interesting change from the London and Bath settings and it gives an interesting glimpse of estate management, what jobs were offered to women and how honour and the given word bound a gentleman. My only complaint is that I wanted a bit more angst; they all seemed so proper and sensible that not only they didn’t show their feelings to the world but they also didn’t show them to the reader.

Grade: 4/5

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