Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ransome's Honor - Kaye Dacus

Once Youthful Sweethearts—Can Their Love Be Renewed?

When young Julia Witherington doesn’t receive the proposal for marriage she expects from William Ransome, she determines to never forgive him. They go their separate ways—she returns to her family’s Caribbean plantation, and he returns to the Royal Navy.
Now, twelve years later, Julia is about to receive a substantial inheritance, including her beloved plantation. When unscrupulous relatives try to gain the inheritance by forcing her into a marriage, she turns to the only eligible man to whom her father, Admiral Sir Edward Witherington, will not object—his most trusted captain and the man who broke Julia’s heart, William Ransome. Julia offers William her thirty-thousand-pound dowry to feign marriage for one year, but then something she never imagined happens: She starts to fall in love with him again.

Can two people overcome their hurt, reconcile their conflicting desires, and find a way to be happy together? Duty and honor, faith and love are intertwined in this intriguing tale from the Regency era.

I first picked this book up because I heard it compared to Jane Austen's Persuasion. I love Persuasion and so I can't resist similar themed books. I had no idea this was Christian fiction till a few mentions to God showed up in the middle of the book, they didn't seem necessary from my point of view but they didn't ruin my reading.

What is similar to Persuasion is that the hero and heroine have met in the past and had some sort of relationship. But unlike Persuasion, the heroine was very much hoping to accept a proposal from the hero when he gave up on them and decided to sail away in search of his fortune.

Now that they meet again, our heroine, Julia, feels a bit embarrassed to be in the same company than the man who destroyed her dreams; and Captain Ransome feels a bit uncertain due to his past actions. They dance around each other for a while but the fact that Julia has to marry to receive her fortune, and is being pursued by a disagreeable cousin, leads her to approach the Captain directly considering a marriage between them. The fact is that both of them still have feelings for each other but are unaware of what the other is feeling and thus pretend they are just friends.

Julia thinks they might make a marriage of convenience, that way she can receive her fortune and then she’ll return to her beloved Jamaica (where she has lived since the Captain failed to propose) and he will go on with his life. But these new circumstances bring their true feelings to light and the threat to Julia's safety helps bring them together.

I have to say I found the secondary plot a bit lame. I would have preferred them to work on their feelings and decide what they wanted to do instead of having Julia's relatives concocting a story that, it seemed to me, a bit over the top. It's still an enjoyable story but I felt if the premise could have been made into a more interesting, and introspective, story.

I did like the maritime details, how important it was to these characters the sea as a way of life. The worry and actions to help the sailors' families who are left without a mean of subsistence. It was quite refreshiing to have people worried with more than the next party. The fact that I enjoyed this side of the story so much might make me grab the next 2 books in this trilogy...
Grade: 3/5

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