Sunday, March 19, 2017
The Wings of Love
Amanda Burke is the innocent young daughter of an impoverished vicar in Regency England when she finds herself the unwilling focus of the very wealthy local lord's attention.
Lord Ravenscar is the sort of man that any decent, god-fearing young woman would most want to avoid. Cruel, dissipated and domineering, known to live a life of vice and corruption, when he finds Amanda in his garden, he is smitten by her beauty and innocence. Determined to make her his own, he approaches her parents, asking for Amanda to be his bride.
This puts Amanda is a very uncomfortable position. Her family needs the money. Her father, the vicar, owes his living to Lord Ravenscar. Ravenscar uses his power and position to woo Amanda's family, promising her father a new, better-funded vicarage, promising to introduce Amanda's younger sister to society, promising to get Amanda's little brother into college. But even these blandishments are not enough to overcome Amanda's distaste for Ravenscar.
Meanwhile, Amanda has stumbled across a handsome, young, wounded stranger on Ravenscar's grounds. He needs her help or the local dragoons will haul him off to be hanged as a smuggler or as a spy. In short order, the two young people know they are in love and clever Ravenscar is onto them. He gives Amanda a choice, agree to marry himself or see her young beau hauled away to certain death. She gives in and agrees to be his wife.
Lord Ravenscar is anxious to seal the deal and hauls Amanda off to London to be outfitted in a manner suitable to a man of his wealth and position, leaving behind her parents and siblings. The only one to stand between him and Amanda is his sister, a sad. older woman who, it turns out, actively despises her brother. She also rather despises Amanda who she thinks is marrying Ravenscar for his money. The sister is not the only one in London who hates Amanda. Ravenscar was involved with a society woman who was counting on being his bride. When she finds out that Ravenscar has chosen Amanda, she goes off the deep end, hatching a plan to have Amanda snatched and sold into sexual slavery. Amanda, finding out that her true love is dead and that Ravenscar is through waiting and has arranged for the marriage to take place shortly, leaves her feeling well and truly trapped and totally alone.
This was an Okay read. Given Ravenscar's unsavory reputation, you would think that Amanda's parents would keep their beautiful daughter at home every time he is known to be in the area. Instead, she is sent to gather flowers for the altar from his greenhouse and runs afoul of the evil lord. If her parents or herself had any foresight, all of this could have been easily avoided. Oh, well.
This book dates to the early 1960s and has a pretty decent plot, unlike Cartland's later works, when she was just coasting on her reputation.