Review – A Lady of Courage by Catherine Tinley (from the compilation Second Chance Love)

About the Book:

A Second Chance…a do-over? These ladies are not the young naïve girls they once were. Now they are WOMEN who know the value of love, who have faced challenges and aren’t afraid to seek what they want.

Come along as they risk it all for a second chance at a happily ever after.

Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary by Wendy LaCapra… Mrs. Amelia Sartin helms her late husband’s company and implicitly trusts her Secretary, Matthew Bellamy. However, as she cedes company control to her heir, can Bellamy persuade Amelia he is one thing she cannot leave behind?

To Hell and Back, by Annabelle Anders… Eve Mossant’s life has been quite turned over. As has the carriage she was traveling in to attend her estranged husband’s funeral. Thank heavens for Mr. Waverly, her ever dependable man of business. She wouldn’t know where she’d be without him…

A Lady’s Guide to Marriage by Tabetha Waite… She’s never stopped loving him. He’s never stopped loving her. But is love enough to salvage a crumbling marriage, or will it be their ultimate undoing?

Heart of Decadence by Jenna Jaxon… Miss Amelia Burrowes was the scandal during her first Season, when her fiancée died. Ten years later, she’s back in London to make an arranged marriage that will hopefully allow her sisters to be received by the ton. But when Nathan, Lord Ainsley arrives, the flame between them rekindles and Amelia must convince him that a woman with a past deserves a future.

A Letter From a Lady by Cynthia Sterling... Deserted by her husband, Lady Clarissa Delaware has opened her home as a respite for ailing gentry, but her newest lodger is a mystery man who seems far too interested in her. Will dangerous intrigue and forbidden passion unite Viscount Adam Kendrick and Lady Clarissa in a bond sure to cause scandal?

A Lady of Courage by Catherine Tinley… Following a scandalous elopement and a cloud of mystery over the legitimacy of her child, Elizabeth has spent years in exile, hiding away from society. Now back in London for the first time, can she find the courage to regain her place and find love?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                        Second Chance Love: A Regency Romance Set

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Elizabeth Milford defied her father’s wishes and eloped with John, a soldier, when she was twenty.  Her young husband was killed within a month of their marriage, leaving her widowed, pregnant, and unable to support herself.  She swallowed her pride, and contacted her father, General Hunter, asking for his help.  Her father agreed to support her and her child under the condition that she stay away from England forever.  For the last twenty two years, Elizabeth has made a comfortable life for her and her daughter in Brussels.

Elizabeth’s placid existence is about to be disrupted, as her daughter, Juliana, now twenty-one, has received an invitation from her best friend for them to visit her in England.  Juliana is thrilled, having never visited her parents’ homeland, and begs Elizabeth to accept the invitation.  Elizabeth reluctantly gives in to her daughter’s pleas, but at the expense of her own peace of mind.  She knows she will have to avoid her father at all costs, lest he discover she broke their agreement and stops his support.  The general is so adamant about his daughter staying away because he believes her civil marriage invalid, as it was never blessed by the church.  Thus, he feels she bore an illegitimate child, and never truly married.

Elizabeth is not the vivacious girl she was two decades ago.  Her circumstances changed her, and now the trip to England has left her nervous and ill.  On their journey, it’s her daughter who takes charge and takes care of her.  Even after they arrive safely, Elizabeth continues to appear faint hearted, skittish, and fearful.  While Juliana greatly enjoys her visit, and even may have found a beau, someone from Elizabeth’s past comes back into her life.

Charles Thornton was an acquaintance of John Milford’s all those years ago, and he had a decided interest in Elizabeth.  That is, until she showed a preference for only John, and their elopement crushed any hope Charles may have had.  He never married, and upon seeing Elizabeth again, after two decades, he finds himself still captivated, finding her just as lovely as ever.  Elizabeth is receptive to his friendship, and they begin to seek each other out at social events.  Charles sees the difference in her personality, and knows that there is something she’s fearful of, but he’s willing to wait until she trusts him enough to confide in him.  Slowly, Elizabeth regains a bit of composure, and is blossoming under Charles’s attention – until the general suddenly makes an appearance.

What’s particularly interesting is that as I started to read this story, I immediately began to get that feeling of dejá vu.  I soon realized that in a previous book by Catherine Tinley, THE CAPTAIN’S DISGRACED LADY, I read the story of Juliana, and her romance with Harry.  I honestly have to say that I was totally annoyed with Elizabeth in that book about what I felt was her weak character and flightiness.  I’m definitely more sympathetic with Elizabeth in this book, seeing things from her point of view, and all she had to deal with.

A LADY OF COURAGE is a compelling read that shows the horror of war, as Elizabeth and Juliana return to Brussels, only to face the terrors of the battle of Waterloo.  I love Charles, who proved himself to be an honorable and admirable man, not judging Elizabeth, but supporting and loving her.  I enjoyed seeing Elizabeth’s growth, and the fact that she was able to find love again.  The fact that the couple finds love and passion in their forties is so refreshing to read.  I do recommend reading THE CAPTAIN’S DISGRACED LADY, although this novella can stand on its own.  I also especially loved the sweet and satisfying conclusion to Elizabeth’s and Charles’s story, and the surprising bonus which makes their happy-ever-after even lovelier.    ~Rose

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