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Marriage of Mercy
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Marriage of Mercy

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  288 ratings  ·  60 reviews
From riches to rags, Grace has had to swallow her pride and get a job as a baker. But everything changes when she's the beneficiary of a surprise inheritance.Her benefactor's deal comes with a catch: give up her life of toil and live in luxury only if she marries his illegitimate son, a prisoner of war. It's an offer she can't afford to refuse. But her husband-to-be is dyi...more
Mass Market Paperback, 281 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Harlequin (first published January 1st 2012)
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Cecilia
The premise is actually slightly different than the blurb describes: The heroine finds out that she has inherited a modest income and lifetime residence of a dower house on a marquis's land, in return for going to Dartmoor to bring home the deceased marquis's illegitimate son, who is an American POW. Her task is only to care for him and oversee his parole in the dower house, not marry him. The solicitor reveals that the deceased marquis had hoped that they would fall in love and marry, but it wa...more
Kathleen
Four solid stars for this historically interesting romance. I read the e-book version. The title is deceiving. There is NO marriage of mercy in this plot. No marriage at all, actually, but it is foretold in the last chapter. The publisher's synopsis is misleading, too.

This review is *mostly* Spoiler Free. I don't give away the main mystery.

Setting: England, primarily from 1814 to 1815. Dartmoor Prison and Quimby, a village in Devon, England, not too far from Exeter. The Napoleonic War is coming...more
Meggie
Just a FYI: the back cover copy (and the title, to be honest) have nothing to do with the actual plot. Ignore them!

So, Marriage of Mercy is pretty much The Lady's Companion, but with American prisoners and doughnuts and a ridiculous villain. I know, that sounds rather unlike TLC, but what I meant was that both books feature heroines who have slipped from the gentry into the working middle class--Grace in MoM more so than Susan in TLC, since Grace was working as a baker.

I love when regency-set n...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
2/5; 2 stars; C

Well, the writing was the high quality I've come to expect from Carla Kelly but the story fell flat for me. First and foremost, I think Harlequin screwed up in a BIG way with the title of this book and the synopsis. It made me think that the pages of the book got put inside the wrong cover. There was no marriage, even at the end, the main couple had yet to be married. There was no mention of marriage in the conditions of the inheritance. It was very strange.

My favorite aspect of...more
SheLove2Read
What I liked: captivating writing and immensely likeable characters. No lords, ladies or surprise heirs here - the hero is a former indentured servant,now a common sailor, and the heroine is a bakery worker (although her father was at one time a Baronet). I also liked that the romance was slow to progress. Normally that might bore me but in this case it worked. The progression from tentative friends to lovers is sweet and satisfying.

What I didn't like was the cover - the characters look NOTHING...more
Miki
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jolene
This book was not a standout for me, especially after reading "Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career," but it held my interest and there was some suspense (not a lot, mind you) to keep the reader wondering which background characters to trust. It was a good read on the whole, but the openly affectionate behavior of the hero and heroine in public (even before they fell in love) seemed out of place to me given the time period and setting. I do have one last snarky thought that persisted for the latter hal...more
Gaile
This book took out like a tornado for me and I read it in record time.
It takes place in England during the French and American wars. The War of 1812 as America calls it has imprisoned many American sailors at Dartmoor Prison. Gracie, born a lady but experienced a downfall is now a Baker's apprentice. She develops a friendship with Lord Thomson who names her in his will provided she releases and takes care of a prisoner from Dartmouth. This has quite a complex plot. Nothing is what it seems nor a...more
Karyn Gerrard
3.5 stars out of 5 rounded up to 4

I agree with others, title is lame and blurb misleading. Also the cover was ill conceived and didn't fit the story. Carla Kelly deserved better than this. Well written as always, no one does naval romances like Carla. A sweet romance with interesting characters, I would have preferred a little more heat. Regardless, I was caught up in the narrative and Rob was engaging as an American POW granted parole through a twist of fate and left in the care of the heroine,...more
Aspoon
I have mixed feelings about this book...on one hand I loved the knowledge of history within the story...it didn't realize a lot of the things mentioned in this book happened so I found myself looking things up and further reading about historical events during 1812-1815. So Kudos to the author for that...on the other hand...the romance side was lacking and I didn't feel a romantic/sexual connection between the characters...actually it would have been better off if they were brother and sister......more
Melissa
Liked the book. Must warn you it has adult/erotic content. Not much, only two scenes really, but I was under the impression that it was a "clean romance" book. Guess I should have read all the tags, hmm? I don't know if this is a different Carla Kelly than the one that does clean romance, or if there is one who writes both. Either way, you won't be surprised as I was.
As others on here have mentioned, the title and synopsis on the back have very little to do with the book. There is no marriage o...more
Laura
This book just dragged for me. SPOILER ***I was shocked that a woman in that day and age from her station in life would sleep with someone she was not married to. Not really believable. I found myself skimming chapters wanting things to move faster until more than half way through. Not her best work, far from it!
Jeri
I really liked the characters and relationship. The plot was ridiculous, though ...
Patsyann
This book is wrapped around (IMO) a pretty intense romance. The heroine was a strong woman who accomplished a lot - the hero was a smart-alecky person who challenged her. But they fell in love anyway and that was the best thing about the book.
I did not like the ending. Even though hero and heroine got together in the end – the last couple of chapters, depicting their separation, was hard to read. Man’s inhumanity to man is sometimes hard to read about. The heroine’s reaction to it, mirrored what...more
ROMANTIC HISTORICAL REVIEW BLOG
Review by Lady Blue At Romantic Historical Lovers: http://romantichistoricallovers.wordp...

Reviewed by Lady Blue

Grace Curtis has slipped. She readily admits this, and any number of her former friends are willing to tell her, lest she forget. She formerly led a relatively privileged life, but her widowed father, too prideful and blind to see he needed to economize, died penniless and debt ridden. So, at age eighteen, Grace was forced from her home with nothing and nowhere to go.

She approaches Mr....more
Susan
First let me say that I enjoyed the book. However, Harlequin really messed up with the backcover blurb and the cover art. There was no marriage required and the people on the front don't match the story at all. Grace had befriended the local elderly Lord Thomson. When he died he left her a small inheritance (not enough for the "luxury" stated) and asked that she assist in the paroling of his illegitimate son who is an American prisoner of war. When she goes to the prison (a horrible place) the y...more
Sophia
I adore Carla Kelly and thought that I'd read all her books until I stumbled upon this one. I couldn't believe my luck. I glanced at the blurb, but honestly? It didn't matter; its a Carla Kelly after all.

Before I get to my summary of the story and my thoughts, I just have to toss out there something that occurred to me as I read the book. For some odd reason, the title has nothing to do with the story and the blurb, very little. I put that out there for you to know in case that makes a differen...more
Amanda
I always read the back cover or inside flap of books to get the main idea of the book. I must say with this book, for the first time ever, I want to find this books editor and shake them and ask if they even really read the book. Even though some of what is on the back is the synopsis for the story, there are major details that are wrong. I thought the editor's job was to edit the book, but it seems this day in age they are just getting paid to spit out books. Really, why are publishers wasting...more
Anne Neville
When Grace Curtis, the daughter of an improvident baronet, inherits nothing but debts, she must make a choice. She can either go into denial about her new poverty as her house falls down around her and the debt collectors pound at her door, or she can accept that she has “slipped.” Not one to enter denial, Grace makes the best choice she can: she sells her father’s manor, settles as many debts as possible, and indentures herself to couple who run a local bakery to settle their enormous bill. Ten...more
Tricia
Not one of the best books I have read by this author, who is normally excellent. The title did not relate at all to the story; while Ms. Kelly has shown her knowledge and research into the history of the war of 1812 and conditions at Dartmoor prison, I don't think her depiction of coffee shops and bakeries in 19th Century rural English villages ring true.
Heller
I enjoyed this book. It was similar in some ways to The Lady's Companion. This also didn't shy away from some darker aspects of being a POW. Some moments were definitely not as hardcore as Daughter of Fortune but be prepared for the bleakness in the prison.

I found the main characters engaging but the villain of the piece was a bit over the top for me and the ending I felt was a bit rushed.

(view spoiler)...more
Queenberly
Final feeling: disappointed

Enjoyed the first half of the book, but then the plot hit a plateau. The female character was interesting but Rob was a little flat. I actually liked Smathers more, a much richer character if you ask me. I was disappointed that Rob and Grace didn't get married within the novel. They seemed to act out of character in many ways to their time. There were a few things that weren't explained -- such as how did Rob get the deed to his house? -- and a few skeptical moments fo...more
Brenda
I love Carla Kelly's books. This was not my fave. Ignoring the terrible blurb and title, the story was very good. I love learning a little history lesson with my stories and this was no exception. I love they way Carla storyweaves with such compassion for people and their circumstances. Grace was a doll. She was a fighter and never quit no matter how tough things got. I loved her compassion. Rob was also great in his own ways. He was very forgiving and accepting for how hard his life had been. I...more
Barbara
1. The title is wrong--no marriage takes place in the book.
2. The blurb is correct in that there is a substitution of a different man for the dying Captain Dan Duncan.
3. Interesting premise, interesting characters.
4. I liked that the story was stretched out over months--made the romance that much more reasonable--no inst-lust, thank you very much. Indeed, the interactions between Grace, our heroine, and Rob, the hero, are the best part of the book.
5. The motives of the villain are very Over The...more
Donna
My first comment about this book has no effect on my rating and is not the author's fault...but I don't think the person who wrote the synopsis for the back cover and the title had actually read the book....The MARRIAGE was not was was arranged at all......OK, that said, this book was just ok. I didn't ever really love either main character and felt that Grace especially acted out of character at times. I felt like the "surprise" turn-about in character of one of the villains was not credible. A...more
Mariana
I like this authors writing, but should have known a harlequin book would have some smut, it was not until almost the end, but I had to skip a few pages to get through it.
Swee
Prose was wonderful. Details of war and suffering quite horrific and dampened my enthusiasm for the romance. Not really my cup of tea.
Katie
Definitely not 'Miss grimsleys Oxford Career' but still a good book from Carla Kelly. A couple sex scenes but nothing too graphic.
Patricia Burroughs
The first Carla Kelly I've read that left me feeling meh. I saw the plot twists coming from so far ahead that I got extremely frustrated with the heroine for being so slow to figure things out--actually, she never did. Even when she was told "the truth" near the end, she didn't want to believe it.

I had more issues with this story, including its extreme anti-British sermonizing. If she'd allowed her heroine to have more love for England, she would have actually had a conflict worth reading. As i...more
Shelley
I usually adore Carla Kelly, but this was all over meh. (Also, the cover copy has very little to do with the plot.) It was kind of a confusing mess, honestly, and bizarrely anti-British for being set in England among Englishmen during the War of 1812. One character even said that a doughnut recipe turned them into radicals that favored America? I don't even think it was a joke. Gracie was a great character, but I really couldn't care much about any of them.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Although Carla Kelly is well known among her readers as a writer of Regency romance, her main interest (and first writing success) is Western American fiction—more specifically, writing about America's Indian Wars. Although she had sold some of her work before, it was not until Carla began work in the National P...more
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