Sunday, April 10, 2011
My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas
"Played against the exciting background of the War of 1812, My Love, My Enemy ranges in colorful setting from Annapolis and Washington to Bermuda, Europe and the high seas..."
I think it's terrific that Sourcebooks Casablanca is bringing back some writers to a new generation of readers by publishing some bestsellers from decades ago. Author Jan Cox Speas came to my attention through Susanna Kearsley's recommendation, and I went on a search to find old copies of her books. So far, Bride of the MacHugh and My Love, My Enemy are being reissued by Sourcebooks this year, and I hope My Lord Monleigh will follow suit as I think it's the best of the bunch. My only minor complaint is that the new Sourcebook covers may be misleading....I adore a hot romance novel and have absolutely nothing against well written sex scenes. But I believe the new covers give the impression that her novels are sexy romances, while in fact they are fairly chaste and completely old-school romance. (A kiss or a touch is about all you'll get.) Her novels are being marketed as historical romances, while I think the term historical adventure is a better description. Readers who enjoy a little spice in their romances will feel misled if they're expecting that from the cover, and those who avoid romances will be pleasantly surprised to find that her writing is much more a blend of history and adventure than romance. Now that I've got that cleared up, on to my thoughts about My Love, My Enemy.
What began as an ordinary day for young Page Bradley quickly turns into a series of events which will change her future forever. Sneaking away from Bradley House without her father's permission is typical mischief for Page -- she has Duncan MacDougall (a Scotsman in her father's employ) as her partner in crime to bring her safely by boat into the town of Annapolis to do some shopping. Knowing there will be hell to pay if anything happens to her, and there is very real danger from the British ships in the area, Duncan is wary of letting his charge too long out of his supervision. But like a magnet to metal, Page seems to attract trouble and soon finds herself almost run down by a horse -- and it's handsome English rider, in a most gentlemanly manner, apologizes and bids her to be more careful. A short while later, Page finds that an angry mob has surrounded this same Englishman and are in the mood to hang him as an English spy. Without thinking, Page steps forward and pretends to know him and extracts him from this volatile situation. Grateful for her assistance, Joycelyn Trevor, Lord Hazard, agrees to accompany her to see her home safely.....until their boat is unfortunately fired upon by the British ship, The Falcon and all are captured.
From Annapolis to the tropical island of Bermuda, to France and England and back to America, this is a tale of high seas adventures, privateers, spies, loyalties to one's country -- and staying true to the heart.
A light, charming read for a quiet afternoon. I preferred her other two books with their Scottish settings, but this was entertaining with its multiple settings and nautical adventures.
*****Edited to Add: Avid Reader gave me a heads up about the kindle cover for this book, which I think is much closer to the spirit of the story.
Title: My Love, My Enemy
Author: Jan Cox Speas
Originally published 1961
Sourcebooks Casablanca 2011
genre: historical adventure