The Reluctant Wife by Caroline Warfield

The Reluctant Wife (Children of Empire Book 2)The Reluctant Wife by Caroline Warfield

Barb’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Children Of Empire – Book 2
Publication Date: April 26, 2017

This book is a delightful find and my very first by Caroline Warfield. Ms. Warfield paints such a compelling picture of the sights, smells, sounds and life in India that you feel you are there. Then, you add in a camel ride through a desert and a boat ride down the Nile and you are totally hooked!

Can you believe a Historical Romance novel where neither the hero nor heroine are part of the ton? Well, we have it here and it is a wonderful change. Yes, there are dukes and earls, but they aren’t the main characters in the book. Our hero is a military man stationed in India and our heroine is a widow with a past. We also get a glimpse of English society in colonial India and I think it is probably even more restrictive than it was in London among the ton.

I can only think that Captain Fred Wheatly has a split personality because of the two totally different ways he reacts to situations. He always does the exact right thing for the exact right reason and yet he always ends up in trouble. He is totally honorable and the people in the village where he is stationed respect him totally. Yet he doesn’t get promoted – why??? Well, the reason is that he treats people with respect rather than the brutality his superiors demand. Now – the other side of that split. He lives with his mistress and their two daughters in the village where he is stationed, yet he doesn’t even know his children’s names. I just can’t merge those two images of this man.

Clare Armbruster is a widow and the sister of Fred’s commanding officer. She and Fred meet during a public confrontation outside Fred’s house – just after his mistress has died. Fred’s house steward wants to sell the daughters because they are half-caste and the cook disagrees with him. Fred comes home amid the argument and Clare steps in to comfort and console the little girls.

Clare has always been put down and ignored by the men in her life and she’s looking to change that. All she wants is to sell the unmanageable house that has been left to her by an aunt and buy a small cottage where she can grow herbs. She has traveled to the small village near Bengal to get her brothers permission to sell the house.

There are many mean spirited and hateful people in the story, but there are also many wonderful and loving people as well. You’ll love the little girls – they just steal the show. Meghal is older and very, very curious – not to mention brave – and Ananya is younger and very shy. Jonny is also a very sweet and special young boy – but you’ll have to read the book to find his story!

I highly recommend the book.

** I received an eARC of this book from the author in return for my honest review **

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