Heather Wiese's Reviews > The Admiral's Penniless Bride

The Admiral's Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly
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's review
May 15, 2012

liked it
Read from May 14 to 15, 2012

** spoiler alert ** 3.5 stars

Total re-cap review

Ok, so another Harlequin from e-books at the library. I'm on a roll!

I was soooo close to rocking a 4 star on this one up until about 60% through. Then I was a little confused.

Sally is a widow, ever since her late husband was accused of naval crimes and he committed suicide. Stripped of everything they owned and left destitute, her and her young son were left with nothing but themselves, until the little guy died of hunger and exposure. Fast forward five years and Sally has been scrimping by as a lady's companion to the elderly until her last charge passed on and she moves to a new town for a new job. Upon arriving she finds her new charge has just passed away and the family sets her out on the street without a farthing. With just enough money to buy a cup of tea at the Drake Hotel, she heads there to try and check the classifieds.

Admiral Sir Charles Bright has just retired from an illustrious career in the Navy and is being driven mad by his sisters to settle down and finally marry. In desperation he agrees to marry his former Captain's spinster sister in a marriage of convenience and is waiting for her at the Drake. She never shows up. That's when he spots Sally and tries to figure out what she is doing there all alone.

He decides she is destitute and wants to help her so he boldly goes over to her table with food and sort of takes over. Sally is scared, but very grateful for the meal. Talking more to her (and liking her) and thinking she is pretty he gets this harebrained scheme...what if he asked HER to marry him? He brings it up, she laughs it off and refuses, and they go their separate ways.

Three days later Sally still hasn't found work, hasn't eaten and has been sleeping in churches. The Admiral finds her again and he re-proposes, this time Sally accepts.

I really liked both the characters. Sally is older (32), a victim of some horrible circumstances, but sweet, kind and has a sly wit. The Admiral (he is 45) is a very kind man, a bit out of place on land, has a hook for one hand (it wasn't really ever an issue), and is also funny. Their interactions were mostly cute and/or funny. I snorted in laughter a couple of times just from little discussions they had. Like the estate he bought because it overlooked the ocean, but the house was previously owned by a lecherous old coot and had painting/statues/everything in it that would make even a well-rounded Navy Admiral blush. They set about re-doing the house right away.

I think the Admiral starts falling for Sally first, he is always very affectionate with her and she starts to slowly come out of her shell.

Loved up to here:

That's why when they finally consummate their marriage (months into being married) I was expecting it to make a little more...sense? He's upset about something and she just sorta drops her nightgown and "comforts" him. Erhm...ok. Then there was this whole "oh no, I'm so sorry...this was a marriage of convenience" thing. Then another month-ish passes and they start to go for it again in a "moment" and then the skeevy butler sees them and the Admiral sees the butler and breaks it off but doesn't tell Sally so she's mortified and runs away. Oh geesh.

They finally make up at some point and things are going well until the Admiral is visited by a colleague (who was sent there by the skeevy butler) and told that Sally is using him and her dead husband was a war criminal (which he really wasn't but he was accused of it, tried and found guilty in a cover-up). The Admiral loses it, yells horrible things at Sally, throws a paperweight at her head and she runs for her life, packing up that same night and leaving only with what she came with originally.

This was another part I didn't understand, the Admiral's reaction was really out of character and why exactly was he mad? HE proposed to HER. It's not like she tricked him into marriage. Was he mad she hadn't told him about her late husband? Did he think she was trying to pull something over on him? I don't get it. It was waaay out of proportion.

The next day he goes to find her, worried he may have hurt her with the paperweight and finds all the things he had bought her and a long letter explaining everything. He believes the letter and tries to find her, but to no avail. He searches for months and then goes on a binder of desolation for another month, then starts looking for her again and FINALLY finds her, 5 months after she left.

In case you didn't see this coming, she's pregnant. She forgives him instantly (ehhhh...drag it out sister) and they then live happily ever after.


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