Sunday, September 03, 2006

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

Love in a Stranger's Eyes

In town, they call her "Crazy Widow Dinsmore". But Elly was no stranger to their ridicule - she had been an outcast all her life, growing up in a boarded-up old house under the strict eye of her eccentric grandparents. Now she was all alone, with two little boys and a third child on the way.

He drifted into Whitney, Georgia, one lazy afternoon in the summer of 1941, hoping to put his lonely past behind him. He yearned for the tenderness he had never known, the home he'd never had. All he needed was for someone to give him a chance.

Then he saw her classified ad: WANTED - A HUSBAND. When he stepped across Elly Dinsmore's cluttered yard, Will Parker knew he had come home at last...

This author was chosen as Author of the Month for June in my Historical Romance Chat group, but I have only now got around to reading it. Very slack..I know!

Reviewing this book is actually quite difficult for me because in the end I did really enjoy it, but oh my goodness it took me forever to get into it. I am not really sure why that was. It is actually a pretty unusual setting for me. Normally the historicals that I read are set in England around the time of the Regency and feature lords and scoundrels and rakes. This book is set in small town American South in the early 1940's, just before America becomes involved in WWII. Having said that I love a good war story - especially one written with a focus on the relationships that happen with a background of war. Maybe part of the reason for the slow beginning was that both Will and Elly are very cautious people, both trying to protect themselves from past hurts, and the novel proceeded in a similarly cautious pattern.

Having said all of that, when I really got hooked, that was it, and I loved the rest of the book. This book was originally published in 1989, and I wonder if that is also part of the reason why this book was a little different to other romances that I had read. I did start to wonder how many more ways the author could possibly torture our main characters though! She did use a very effective tool at one point...moving the story along through the use of a series of letters between several characters - given the setting, and the content of the letters it was a great way of communicating events without having to spend pages and pages explaining action that had actually happened to speak!

As for Elly and Will - I completely understand their fears, and their issues, but I did wonder if Will may be a fraction too good to be true. Everything he turned his hand to he could do - become a bee keeper...sure. Fix the bathroom and the porch, and the car ... no problem. He was however a very likeable character - a decent man, and I liked him a lot.

There were a lot of times where we were privy to what they both were thinking, and there was more than once when I just wanted to shout at the two of them to just talk to each other. Life would have been so much easier if they had...but the book would have been significantly shorter!

Overall, this romance was quite a lot deeper than a lot of others that I have read, and included some very unusual storylines, especially involving giving birth. Ultimately it was a satisfying that I nearly missed out on because I was very tempted to put the book down and not come back to it because it took so long to hook me in.

Rating 4/5


  1. This is one of my all time favourite romances. I loved how Will is such a wonderful Beta hero and seeing Ellie grow.
    And I really appreciated the time it was set in. It was quite unusual
    Seems an odd choice though for a historical book choice :)

  2. I hate it when there's a book that looks promising yet I can't get into it. Glad you could finish this! I'm not into the 1900's but it does sound like a nice read.

  3. I've seen this book pop up on quite a few "favourites" lists, so I'm glad you did enjoy it in the end. I think I'll try this one out too.

  4. I love LaVyrle Spencer! However, this isn't one of my favorite ones. I liked it a lot, but my favorites are Vows (on my TBR shelf and read once a year or so), Forgiving, and The Gamble.

    For contemps, my favorite is Bittersweet.

  5. LOL Marg-I went out and bought this book this weekend, before I got sick.

  6. Yeah, there was something very slow about this story but it just seemed to fit when I read it. It is one of my favourites and think it will stand the test of time because of the setting.

    I think the isolation of the characters was soothing and the pace of the romance is so very different from today's books where they meet, jump each other and then live HEA.

    I find Spencer to be a difficult author to gauge. Her books were hit or miss with me but this one was a definite hit.

    4/5 means it's not quite a keeper, right?


  7. I find it hard to let go of books so it has to be a pretty crappy book to not be a keeper! Another good reason for using the library...I have no choice but to give it back!!

  8. I just bought a second hand copy of this on Kristie's and CindyS' recommendation. Am so glad you like it. Which means I'm going to have to spped it up the pile.