C.F. White's Reviews > The Captain and the Cricketer

The Captain and the Cricketer by Catherine Curzon
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it was amazing

I don't think it's any secret that I've become a major Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead super-fan, especially not after this latest installment of their Captivating Captain's series!

The story and characters are so quintessentially English the whole thing feels like a perfect Afternoon Tea, Cricket teas that is, with lashings of homemade award-winning jam. And cucumber sandwiches of course.

Here we have the backdrop of a beautiful English village in Sussex, Longley Parva, where Cricket and summer fetes are the folk’s most beloved, and important, of all things. Especially to the Lord of the Manor and local vet’n’ry, Henry Fitzwalter, who fifteen years ago won the infamous Longley Parva cup in a game of cricket against his best friend, George Standish-Brookes. But before he could thrust the cup high and reap the benefits of his greatest triumph, the cup was lost and Henry accused his best friend of stealing it. In a fit of rage, Henry then wielded a cricket bat not far from George’s head and that put a stifled end to their relationship. George went off to Afghanistan to become the decorated hero Captain George Standish-Brookes, and Henry remained in the village, forever bitter, forever destined to be the stiff-upper-lipped rural vet and sole occupant of Longley Parva Manor, a crumbling stately home that he could barely afford the hefty upkeep on.

Roll on fifteen years and George is somewhat of a celebrity―a television personality, a dashing man of charisma, charm, money and a toot-toot Jaguar to be envious of. He returns to his home village, declaring he will bring the England Cricket team with him as a televised fundraiser to fix the village town hall’s roof. The village folk love him, they swarm to him, he is their property and George, for the most part, revels in the attention. To Henry’s utter, seething, annoyance.

Henry and George go from two frolicsome school boys flouncing around in the meadows and swimming in lakes, to becoming bitter nemesis with a tit-for-tat rivalry, to then, not far into George’s return to his home village, something quite lovely. And whilst I thought this part would take longer to unwind in the book, I wasn’t disappointed by the relationship falling into this delightful and squishy romance so early on. Because they had the history together, a love they had both lost although never really made a claim to, and it was clear from the offset that they both adored each other. But with respectable, and rather stuffy, village life, rocketing celebrity status, and rather pompous ancestry, they’d shied away from admitting their feelings for for far too long already. So whilst I thought this would be a friends-turned-enemies-turned-lovers story, it was more a tale about fighting for what’s right. In the most hard-fought of English ways―over a game of cricket!

With a dash of villainy in the form of millionaire Ed Belcher and his wife, also Henry’s rather bitter ex-girlfriend and social-climber, Steph, who make a claim to Henry’s Manor House leaving poor-old Henry to believe he could be homeless (but his George would never stand for that, would he?), and a bit of historical uncovering of age-old village scandals, The Captain and the Cricketer covers every aspect of a good old British romp that I could see played out on prime time Sunday evening on the beeb. Except perhaps after the watershed, as we wouldn’t want any more stern letters written to Points of View, now would we ;)

I thoroughly enjoyed The Captain and the Cricketer. I love that it’s a bit of a lark, a bit of a mystery, a bit of a second chance romance with an ending that one can just sigh whilst fanning oneself over. I love Henry’s tweed, I love George’s green eyes that only sparkle for Henry, and I love that bloody British village. I want to go there. Now. Please?

OK, I’ll just go read this awesome book again.

I highly recommend The Captain and the Cricketer to those who love English settings, village bumpkins, wealthy upper-class old chaps, and smooch-worthy love scenes. Just have a cuppa English Breakfast in hand and possibly an egg ‘n’ cress sarnie. Or Steak and Ale pie. And the cricket on in the background for full effect.

Toot-toot indeed!

Roll on the next Captain, please...
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2018 – Shelved
June 9, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 21, 2018 – Started Reading
June 26, 2018 – Finished Reading

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