Gallant Waif, by Anne Gracie

>> Thursday, March 06, 2003

After that, I decided to read a book that had been languishing in my To-Be-Read pile for ages: Gallant Waif, by Anne Gracie. I'd heard so many raves about this one and about her other book, Tallie's Knight, that I bought both immediately. I read the latter first and I thought it was nice but nothing special, so I was in no hurry to read Gallant Waif. Plus, awful title. "Waif" says "helpless" to me.

Kate Farleigh was absolutely stunned when her refusal to accept Lady Cahill's offer of "charity" resulted in her being swept away in her sumptuous carriage. But the real reason behind the older woman's antics became stunningly clear upon meeting Lady Cahill's enigmatic grandson, Jack Carstairs.

Wounded in the Peninsular War, disowned by his father and dumped by his fiancée, Jack had shut himself up in his country estate, but Kate had no patience with such behaviour. Suddenly Jack found himself with a purpose, trying to steer clear of Miss Farleigh's attempts to interfere with his chosen lifestyle. Why, if he wasn't careful, Kate just might succeed in her attempts to make him want to rejoin the human race!

This was an A-. It was the first book in ages to make me cry (probably the first since The Man Who Loved Christmas). So powerful! I loved Kate, because though tortured by what had happened to her, she didn't let it turn her into a morose ghost. She kept her good humour and good sense, and did what had to be done. She truly was gallant.

Jack was more a stereotypical tortured, wounded war hero, but IMO, this was Kate's story, so I didn't mind.

For a book with no sex scenes and even no "almost" sex scenes, this one was very sensual, even steamy at times. It felt just right.

The only improvement I can think for this book is length. I'd cut some 30 pages. At times, some parts were a bit repetitive, especially the times when Kate resolved to stop what had been happening with Jack and immediately changed her mind.

Anyway, this one was one of the most emotionally powerful books I've read lately, and I'm very glad I decided to pick it up.

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