Marrying The Captain by Carla Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Carla Kelly has done it again. I read my second book by her and fell in love with her characters and her writing. Oliver Worthy was completely sigh-worthy. What an honorable man. He was very down to earth, and, at his heart, a really good, decent man. The Navy was his life, and he had convinced himself that marriage was not for him, because it wouldn't be fair to his wife. But, Nana Massie slipped past his defenses. It wasn't quite love at first sight, but darn close. This young woman had the power to make him yearn for a wife to come home to.
Ms. Kelly has a way of writing a story that is so real and essential. She doesn't tend to write about dukes and ladies. She writes about the non-titled people, the ones who are just getting by, or are doing their everyday tasks to keep the British Empire running, although they seldom get credit for it. I love her non-titled heroes. They have more to offer me than a titled hero, who really has nothing more to do than to seduce women, gamble, and drink. Oliver is a great example of the kind of hero that Ms. Kelly excels at writing. He started his career in the Navy at the age of twelve, working his way up to captain. His men admire him, because he treats them humanely. He's earned his reputation and his rank, and that spoke to me. I liked his down to earth nature. He didn't judge Nana or her grandmother because they weren't Quality. He didn't hold Nana's illegitimacy against her. He loved her for who she was. Even though a woman who married him would have to deal with life as a military wife, hardly seeing her husband, and living with the knowledge that he could die at sea, a woman couldn't ask for a better husband. Nana was a lucky girl.
Nana's mother had made the mistake of falling for the charms of a Navy Lieutenant, and ended up pregnant and unmarried for the trouble. Her grandmother held the father responsible, and he paid for Nana's education at a girls school in Bath. However, he turned out to have unsavory intentions for her: giving her as mistress to a man to pay off his debts. When Nana realized this, she fled back to her grandmother's inn in Plymouth, where she was when the story started. So, she had every reason not to fall for Captain Worthy. But, he lived up to his name. In the end, it was easier than she imagined to fall in love with him. When he shows up, sick as a dog, to stay at their inn, which is barely limping by with no business for six months, it's not very long before he's in her heart.
The romance was excellent in this story. But, I also like the glimpse into the life of a sea captain, and those who live with the everyday reality of the Navy and their men at war. Although the battles are being fought at sea, the people left at home also suffer as the men they love don't always make it back home, or when they do, it's for as little time as they can steal with their spouses and families before they have to go back to sea.
I enjoyed spending Sunday with Nana and Oliver, and I hope that they have a happy life together. Even though there is much at risk in their future, they can claim the time they have together, the family they create together, and the deep, true love they found as their own, that no one can take from them.
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