Thursday, June 06, 2019
The Lady of the Lakes
First sentence from the prologue: I believe in God and Christ and long-suffering, but I do not feel that all three must be so densely mashed together as they are for a Calvinist Sunday sermon.
First sentence from chapter one: Walter did not try to hide the fact that he watched the door with focused attention. Mina--his muse and his future--would be entering at any moment, and he was determined to be the first set of eyes she saw.
Premise/plot: This historical romance novel stars SIR WALTER SCOTT. The prologue is set in 1791 when Sir Walter Scott first meets the lovely Mina. The first chapter is set four years later, 1795.
For Walter Scott, it was LOVE at first sight. He wooed the young Miss Stuart with words, words, and more words. Their meetings were infrequent--private meetings especially--but his letters to her, well, they were something special. Was it love at first sight for Mina? Decidedly not. She fell for his words and perhaps not his person. After all, he couldn't dance. And Mina, well, she loved to be the belle of the ball. She loved to dance every dance. But his words, well, they captivated her....at least until they didn't.
Charlotte Carpenter is a French immigrant, an orphan, a spinster. She's "on the shelf" or "over the hill" at age twenty-five. She's under the care of a kind guardian--but kindness only goes so far when his wife is pressuring him to find her a match or else. Miss Carpenter rejects--perhaps rightfully so--the one match that is arranged for her. What she would like is to be an independent woman who has her own house/household, manages her own money/budget. She's not exactly penniless, but she's far from an heiress. No man is going to be hunting her down and marrying her for her fortune.
Charlotte and Walter Scott meet in 1797, one year after his heart has been crushed, obliterated by Mina. He is NOT looking for love. I repeat, he is NOT looking for love. Scott is convinced that LOVE has done him wrong. That he'll go down to the grave loving Mina and only Mina. That chapter in his life is over and done with. Woe to the friend, the companion, the brother that tries to "fix" or "mend" his heart. BEWARE. But Charlotte is unlike any woman he's ever met before. She's honest, genuine, forthright...true to herself. She isn't wearing a mask. Scott is CLUELESS, ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS, that he feels anything until the day she's set to leave town--her vacation being ended.
Scott follows her--of course, he does. But what he proposes next...well...it's a bit unconventional.
Will Walter and Charlotte make a match of it and get married?
My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I tolerated Mina, I suppose. But I never saw Mina through Walter's eyes--never saw her as being the dazzling, oh-so-perfect, only-one-in-the-world-worth-having woman. I loved Charlotte. From the moment Charlotte is introduced in this one--and it's several years before they meet--I loved her. I loved her character and her sense. I loved her spirit or attitude. The scenes with Walter and Charlotte were my absolute favorite. I adored the last half of this one. It was enjoyable and satisfying.
I would definitely recommend this one. It is a clean read being in the "proper romance" publishing line. Though there is quite a steamy hand-holding scene when he removes a glove while they're listening to a musical concert.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews