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Red, Red Rose by Marjorie Farrell

Red, Red Rose

by Marjorie Farrell

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  1. 00
    Irresistible by Mary Balogh (rsstick)
    rsstick: Red, Red Rose is about a group of friends (with a budding romance) at the outset of Wellington's peninsular war. The backstory for Irrestible is the same. They are both rich, well-told stories. I loved them.

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This novel is rich and much more than a romance. The male protagonist is Valentine Aston, the love child of an earl and a farmer's daughter. This central fact of Aston's life has colored his entire life, and was made worse by a lack of candor from his mother who died unexpectedly when he was eight years old.

The relationship between Alston and his legitimate half-brother is foundational to the story, but the most important secondary relationship is that of Alston and his father. Their relationship is fraught with misunderstanding, distance, poor decisions (in retrospect), and regret, but is ultimately resolved in a satisfying, believable way.

The romance between Alston and Elspeth Gordon, daughter of a career officer and his drum-following wife, seems realistic and true. As important as their bond is however, the other relationships are just as rich. For example we see how two love matches turned out: the parents of Elspeth Gordon, and the parents of Val Alston.

Bad things do occur in this novel (it is after all set in a time and place of war), but gentle hints are dropped to prepare us when they are about to be visited on the characters.

I loved this delightfully unusual book, and will undoubtedly read it again. It is rich, has a fidelity to time and place, protagonists who feel genuine, a beautiful and affirming love story, and still manages to explore several interpersonal truths in a way that gives one thought.

I am eager to find more works by this author. ( )
  rsstick | Sep 16, 2009 |
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This one is for my father, Major (ret.) John Aloysius Farrell, Pearl Harbor survivor and a man who has face all of his life with great courage. It is also dedicated to the memory of Leslie Baker, my instant sister, who gave me what Charlie gave to Val: unconditional love.
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Val . . . Val, it is time to go.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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