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The Spanish Bride

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,674 ratings  ·  102 reviews
With the same ardour he so frequently displays in battle, Brigade-Major Harry Smith dives headlong into marriage. In his beautiful child-bride, Juana, he finds a kindred spirit, and a temper to match.
Paperback, 366 pages
Published January 1972 by Pan Books Ltd (first published 1940)
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☆ Carol ☆

Right from the beginning real life war hero Harry Smith crackles with life & energy & for the most part, so did this book, other than one part where GH just seemed to show off her research skills. She obviously drew extensively on George Simmons diaries & I don't think most of his appearances drove the plot along much.

Juana Smith is well drawn & she is a fascinating mass of contradictions – brave, hardworking & loyal, but also jealous & petulant at times. I would have
This barely fictionalized true story was so engaging I read Harry Smith's memoirs, and then Captain John Kincaids memoirs. Imagine my surprise when some of the dialog Heyer used was right out of their own pens! Not just a wonderful love story, but a great and exciting history of the Peninsular War and livestyle of Wellingtons officers and troops. Harry and Juana spent the rest of their lives together and she went on almost every posting he had in his long career. The town of Ladysmith South Afri ...more
Kathy Davie
A Regency romance with the focus on Captain (Brigade-Major) Harry Smith and the Spanish bride he takes into his heart, Juana, at the end of the siege of Badajos. For a switch, the marriage takes place at the beginning of the story while their married life plays out against the Peninsular War of Napoleon versus Wellington.

You cannot pick up a novel or history of the Peninuslar War without some reference to Captain Harry Smith and his Juana. While most of the story is of the campaigns from the sie
With this one, if you wade through the many paragraphs on fighting and history their is a really sweet story. The writing + dialog isn't Heyer's best, it reads more like a biography to me, and parts of it dragged. Although, the second half of the book gets much better and the battles more enjoyable to read. Even for just getting to see Heyer's research skills. Plus, if you like Heyer's Regencies, towards the end of the story, Juana hangs out in London + it reminds you of her other books just a b ...more
C.P. Lesley
This is not my favorite Heyer (that would be Devil's Cub, The Grand Sophy, or Sylvester), but it is definitely my favorite war book. Even Heyer's An Infamous Army, which could be considered a sequel to this one with its focus on Waterloo and is so accurate that the cadets at Sandhurst reportedly read it as a battle study, cannot hold a candle to this one in terms of making the business of war accessible to non-soldiers.

Based on the first part of Sir Harry Smith's diaries and every other memoir
I've given this a B+ for narration and a B- for content at AAR

Although Georgette Heyer is principally known for writing a large number of sparkling Regency Romances and Comedies of Manners, she also wrote a number of mysteries and several books of historical fiction based on real events. One of the best known of these is An Infamous Army, which is said to include some of the most well-researched descriptions of the Battle of Waterloo, and which, as a result, is (or was) a set text at Sandhurst!
This is so not what I expected. The foreword had warned me and I should have put back this book on its virtual shelf then.
The strength of Georgette Heyer regards historical romance is her ability to twist the plot, to involve too many melding and interfering characters, all that written in a light and rather humoristic tone, that makes it all generally a fluffy but highly entertaining romantic comedy.
In this case, this is not too be expected.
Georgette Heyer had most probably been enthralled by t
God, between this and An Infamous Army, I sometimes feel like Georgette Heyer is a kindred spirit indeed. Her books on the Peninsular War are just... brilliant.

The Spanish Bride is nominally about the true story of Juana and Brigade-Major Harry Smith, and she brings them to life as very colorful and complex characters, but the book is high-jacked by the backdrop--a rich description of every battle in Wellington's campaign from Badajos to Toulouse in which the Light Division took part. Heyer read
Once again I'm totally in awe of Georgette Heyer's ability to bring history to life. She brings home the epic scale of the Napoleonic wars and makes you see them from a very human perspective. Reading about the lives of the British soldiers, it seems incredible that they survived and succeeded with the conditions they were faced with. It was also gripping following the progress of a relationship that looks like a recipe for disaster in so many ways, but managed to overcome the odds just as the a ...more
Hannah Cobb
I never know what to expect from a Heyer novel because she was such a prolific writer. This one was frankly disappointing. It's pretty much a four-hundred-page history text about the Peninsular War (1808-1814), and Wellington's many victories against the French. The protagonists--Brigade-Major Harry Smith and his fourteen-year-old bride, Juana--are engaging, but (largely because this is based in fact, not fiction) they never develop or do much of anything except fall in love and survive a long s ...more
Muuyyyyyyyy Bieeeeeeeeenn ! Oh god ! This book ! This book was a gift from god to me, I didn't even plan to buy it. It just sort of came to me. Alas ! The adventure it took me on is now over ! It took to 2 weeks to read this but it was worth it !

Time consuming ? yes. Hard/old vocabulary ? Yes. Too much history in it ? Yes.
In some reviews these are marked as negatives of the book ! Are you serious ? This is exactly what is suppose be in historical romantic classic fiction !

Georgette Heyer did
While I enjoy Heyer's historical romances, the books which are based on actual people and events are my favorites -- The Spanish Bride, Royal Escape, My Lord John (though unfinished), and to a certain extent An Infamous Army and The Conquerer (though unlike the first 3, the last 2 focus around fictional characters as well as real people). I am a lover of English history, and Heyer does her research and knows her stuff; then she uses her knowledge and skill to bring the characters and events from ...more
Jessica Howard
The title and description of this book are misleading. For while it is indeed the story of a Spanish Bride, it is also a detailed history of the War in the Peninsula. I'd say about 10-15 percent of the book is the love story of Harry Smith, English officer, and his wife Juana, Spanish noblewoman; but about 85-90% of it is a detailed account of Wellington's battles, troop movements, and strategies in the war against Napoleon. It's a fascinating book with excellent details on the war and the life ...more
I normally really enjoy Georgette Heyer's work, but I couldn't make it through this book. With 480 pages, I just quit at page 270 because the thought of slogging through 200 more pages was too much considering how many other books are out there. I think the problem is that this time the author got too bogged down in the historical army life detail, and it seemed like the "romance" and relationship between Juana and Harry was pretty much a sidenote. I won't let it detract me from reading more of ...more
Harry and Juana seem destined to kill each other half the time in this romance of the Peninsular War by Georgette Heyer. She is young, naive in some ways, but a real trouper in following the drum, and I liked that about her even as I doubted I would be the same.

Based on the letters of the real Brigade Major Harry Smith, this give some of the history of the Peninsular War and as little as I usually enjoy war stories, I enjoyed this. I read that at one time it was used in military schools as a pr
Ghazala Ansari
...for all the gritty details about how war was actually fought where there were cavalry regiments and riflemen marching to usual, without talking history, Heyer presents slice of history in all its vivid detail.
I knew going in that this was not a light Regency like so many of Heyer's best books. But I found Heyer's account of the Battle of Waterloo in An Infamous Army not only entertaining but educational,, so thought I would give this a try as well. And if you like your historical fiction heavy on history and light on plot, you will like this book.

Interestingly, unlike An Infamous Army, where the main characters were fictional but surrounded by real historical figures, in this book, even the main cha
Apr 24, 2010 Ankara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Ankara by: My mother
Shelves: period-romance
I don't think many authors can claim the diversity and sheer body of work that Heyer can, and each piece is a gem. I started reading her books as a teen, and i love all of them even today. Worn them all ragged, and was so happy when all of them appeared on store racks with new covers. Refurbished the entire collection. I think in order to be a truly great author, one must have a facility with words, but also the subject matter must be dear to one, and must be real to one. Heyer's clear love of h ...more
During the Napoleonic wars, Brigade-Major Harry Smith falls in love with a fourteen year old Spanish gentlewoman. They marry immediately, and Juana follows the army around, being adorable and very brave. For someone who has read a good number of Heyer books, this is an odd turn from the usual. Harry and Juana were real people, and all the supporting cast and plot is a matter of historical record. Heyer has clearly exhaustively researched their lives and the battles they were involved in. In fact ...more
This is a true story about a couple who literally fell in love at first sight, which sounds like it would make a good romance novel, except of course it doesn't. You need progression in a relationship to make a romance story work, and getting married in the first 30 pages and then staying happily married doesn't really cut it. You get left with 'oh and then they had to be apart for a while, and they were both sad'.

So what you're left with in this book is a rather interesting story of Wellington'
Not one of Heyer's better books. She seems to have allowed her research to dominate her writing. Her imagination and creativity suffered as a result. This is not a great tribute to a remarkable woman, Sir Harry Smith's bride Juana.
A wonderful read! More historical information heavy than I am used to from Heyer but a beautiful story within - made all the more amazing by the fact it is based on true events. I will be searching out more books on this fascinating couple that is for sure!

Perhaps not for the squeamish as there are accounts included that touch on battles of the Napoleonic Wars and tops of with the Battle of Waterloo. I found the historical details fascinating but as this reads more like an account of battles and
I would classify this as an historical novelization of a true story. By today's standards, it is very light on the romance and very heavy on the historical. Even so, it is an engaging story of the Napoleonic Wars as Wellington's army pushes the French back across Spain and into France. The troop movements and battle strategies are very detailed.

It follows Brigade-Major Harry Smith after he meets a young girl dispossessed and orphaned by the war. He is immediately struck by her and proposes marri
Not the usual fluff... it's actually more of a biography of Harry and Juana (real people, real events).... not sure I'm in the mood for so much "real" right now.

It actually starts with Badajoz... interesting.

hmm... amid all those excessive horrors of war being perpetrated all around them, I, as a reader, am expected to sympathize with the plight of the poor dear girl our h, whose claim to our attention is a protective elder sister, high ranking family and doe like beauty.

I have always wondered
Feb 24, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who liked An Infamous Army, history buffs
Like An Infamous Army, this was a tough book for me. I knew going into this that it was one of Heyer's historical novels (that is, based on real historical figures, rather than pure fiction), and that as such, it was likely to be very different from her usual light fare.

This was, in fact, the case.

The story is not primarily one of courtship and related shenanigans; it is the story of the Peninsular War as seen by the Light Brigade in Wellington's army, and the everyday experiences of the army.
I was a perfect fiend for Georgette Heyer as a young girl, possibly because her Regency bucks and Ladies of Quality spar like Katharine Hepburn and Soencer Tracy (and indeed Heyer was writing from the '20s to the '50s). I still find Heyer to be miles above all the bodice rippers who've tried to imitate her style. So I turned to this one as a comfort read while I was sick. It's based on a true story of Juana Smith, a highborn fourteen-year-old Spanish girl who married an English officer the first ...more
The Spanish Bride was a big surprise for me! While it is in part a romance, it's one of the most detailed historical works I have read in recent years (historical fiction and non-fiction). The way in which Georgette Heyer details the Peninsular Wars woven with the romance provides a vivid picture of life on the battle front. I really felt as though I were there on the front lines and travelling with the regiments!
Ann Murphy
Based on the autobiography of General Harry Smith this is an account of the Peninsula War with the romanatic stroy of how Harry met and married his wife at the same time. It gives a very immidiate feeling of life in Wellington's army where life is short and tough. Georgette Heyer was a terrible snob but once the reader gets past that she has a great gift for story telling.
The Spanish Bride is one of Heyer's Regency novels, but unlike the others we are not in the social whirl of the Ton. Most of the action takes place during the Penninsular War and Harry and Juana are real historical characters. I did enjoy this, but it might not be what you are expecting.
Charisse VanDerwerken
I randomly chose a Heyer book off the library shelf labeled romance hoping for the best. Obviously that hope had me read more than I should have. I think this book would only be interesting to you if you like reading about war, we're interested in the time period, these people were your ancestors,mor you had plenty of time on your hands. There is not plot other than they go traipsing about Spain fighting Napoleans army. There love has almost no struggle, there is essentially no antagonist....I d ...more
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Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...

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