Friday, October 27, 2006

A Catch of Consequence by Diana Norman

Makepeace Burke, colonial tavern keeper, accepts an offer of marriage from the aristocrat she rescues from a rebellious mob, and sets sail for London.

As the second Lady Dapifer, Makepeace soon realises that English society will not easily accept an uneducated colonial.And the first Lady Dapifer, well-connected and refusing to acknowledge her divorce, proves to be an extremely dirty fighter once her silk gloves are off. But Makepeace, having been chased out of one town by prejudice and intolerance, is damned if she'll let that happen again.

Makepeace Burke and her collection of friends, from rescued waifs to Grub Street scribblers, from Northampton miners to prime ministers are irresistible characters. Diana Norman is an addictive discovery.

I first heard about this author when the girls at Dear Author blogged about a couple of her books. With historical fiction being one of my favourite genres, this book, with it's setting in Boston just before the start of the war between Britain and it's young colony, is right up my alley. Boston is full of unrest, and when innkeeper Makepeace Burke rescues a man from the waters of Boston Bay she is dismayed to find that he is an English Lord. The rebels that use her tavern as a meeting place will be less than pleased if they find out that she is harbouring him...not to mention the reaction of her future mother-in-law when she finds out that Makepeace had the man in her bedroom alone for a whole night. The fact that he was unconscious at the time is irrelevant. And then it is Sir Pip's turn to rescue Makepeace and her loved ones, and Makepeace finds herself not only married to him, but falling in love with the dashing Sir Pip, and on her way to make her mark in London society.

Unfortunately, Sir Pip was in Boston trying to obtain a divorce from the first Lady Dapifer, a lady who is finding it very difficult to let go of her former husband, and his money, and she does her best to make as uncomfortable as possible for Makepeace. Well, actually, truth be told the first Lady Dapifer is pretty much a psycho bitch, especially at a time when Makepeace is at her lowest ebb. Luckily she has a quirky and loyal group of friends who are willing to support her, something that she needed after have to move on with her life after a terrible tragedy.

As Makepeace learns to live again, she finds herself in the tough and cold world of Northern England, having to start with very little and try to build a life for herself, always with an eye on vengeance against those who destroyed her life. It is however a fine line between gaining vengeance and allowing that unquenchable thirst for revenge to destroy her again.

I really liked Makepeace as a character. She was tough and resilient, noble and still vulnerable, loyal and direct. It could be said that she might be a little too modern, but to be honest it would only be marginally true, and it is such a minor flaw compared to the very many positive aspects to this book!

As we follow Makepeace as she transitions from innkeeper to society lady to businesswoman, I was completely drawn into her various worlds. When I was reading this book, I was very disappointed when I had to get off the train because it was my stop. I would have been happy to keep on riding the trains until I finished the book! Unfortunately, whilst my boss is a reader, I don't think even she would have appreciated that as a reason for me being late for work.

I have already got the next book in the series out from the library! Can't wait to get to it!

Rating 4.5/5