Does she love him enough to let him go?
After three straight days working beside surgeon Will Kennaway to treat the wounded of Waterloo, Amelia Hartwell collapses on the nearest bed to sleep. Surely she can be forgiven for not caring that the warm body sleeping next to hers is Will’s.
Amelia’s status-hungry mother, however, couldn’t be more pleased to have an excuse to get the painfully shy, socially awkward Amelia married off, albeit to a less-than-ultra-rich husband.
Will doesn’t keep his title a deep, dark secret. His little-known earldom simply affords him the financial freedom to focus solely on healing the sick. But now that he has a wife to think about—and to admire, thanks to her unstinting bravery at Waterloo—he reluctantly takes up the mantle of earl to do his duty.
Missing her meaningful work as a nurse, Amelia finds herself floundering in society’s glaring spotlight, wondering if Will regrets being forced to marry. Perhaps it might even be better to give him his freedom, even if doing so will break her heart…
Warning: Steamy, battlefield kisses under a tent canvas lead to steamy scenes in the bedroom.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
I mostly enjoyed this short, sharp Regency read with its focus on the medical necessities that followed the Battle of Waterloo. Amelia is a great main character – period appropriate, yet strong and determined to do her duty to the soldiers. When she’s with Will or facing down her patients she’s confident and efficient, yet when her overbearing mother is around she’s quiet and subdued. I liked Amelia and wanted her to succeed.
Then there’s Will, the surgeon with a secret. Well, it’s less of a secret than just something he doesn’t bother thinking about. Will has no interest in his title. He’s a surgeon and he wants to do everything he can to solve medical mysteries and stop his patients from dying from foolish mistakes. When he sets his mind on something, his focus is hard to shake – as Amelia soon finds out.
However, because of the short nature of this book things aren’t explored as deeply as I think they might have been. The opening section dealing with the wounded of Waterloo, with Amelia working alongside Will is very well done. There’s enough blood and gore to convey the scene without it ever being gratuitous or overdone. The appearance of Wellington fits in nicely too – though I especially loved it when Amelia stood up to him.
Once they come home from the war, though, the short length of this book begins to show. Amelia’s struggles in society aren’t really conveyed and Will mostly mopes about hating what Amelia’s becoming, but not doing anything because he wants her to be happy. Amelia’s family show up and vanish at convenient moments, and that whole twist in the last chapter was ridiculously unnecessary. I would have much rather seen Amelia meeting up with the reformers, or rather finding her way into their company in the first place, than have had that random interjection that served no purposes and added nothing of value to the story.
So, in all, this book starts off well and has a lovely historical tone, but is just too short. The high quality of the opening tails off once the action reaches London and is lost before the end, leaving me feeling vaguely disappointed. I think Will and Amelia deserved better, but I probably won’t read this again. I am, however, interested in reading more by this author. If the first half of this book is anything to judge by, Lynne Connolly knows her way around this period.
It Started At Waterloo is Out Now!
Visit Lynne Connolly for more details.