I have had Saving the Rifleman on my to-read list for awhile, but never really got inspired to buy it. Then I found it on Scribd and was so happy that I added it to my library. I soon realized that it was part of the massive romance purge that Scribd is doing in August so I quickly read it. And...it was okay. I enjoyed it and it was easy to read, but I did feel a little letdown by it.
Maria Hunt is a nurse working in Belgium during World War I. She works at a hospital run by the Red Cross that helps soldiers and civilians regardless of nationality. Maria and her supervisor, Rose, use this position to their advantage by sneaking injured British soldiers out of the country right under the noses of the Germans. I really liked her character for her loyalty and her capability. I am squeamish so I really admired her ability to keep going through some of the more violent aspects of the book. I also loved her devotion to her patients, no matter who they were.
The hero of Saving the Rifleman is John Bennett, an aristocrat and career soldier, who stumbles upon the hospital and needs Maria's help getting to the Netherlands. What I liked about him was his protective nature that was never over-the-top. He spends much of the book in awe of Maria's intelligence and bravery and often bowed to her valuable experience. John also doesn't care much about her lower class background and believes that he can convince his family how amazing she is.
This was a very sweet road romance that has these two likable characters traveling across the Belgian countryside while escaping the Germans. There was a lot of danger and some appropriate wartime violence. This all caused the love story to get a bit rushed. Both Maria and John have their emotions running high and it was not hard to understand their intimacy.
I did feel like things got disappointing once they reached England. I wanted more page time devoted to Maria adjusting to her new life and dealing with John's family's upper crust sensibilities. I guess I found myself in need of more proof that these two had a real connection once they were out of immediate danger, but the page length didn't allow for that. But, if you are looking for a decent historical romance that isn't Regency or Victorian-era, it might be worth checking this series out.
I picked this one up a while ago based on the unusual pairing for a regency, and then promptly forgot about it since my TBR is out of control. When I was ranting again on Twitter about how hard it is to find romance with POC characters, someone brought it up as a suggestion. I’ve been starting and discarding books for days, and this was only a novella, so I figured I’d give it a shot. It was a quick read but, unfortunately, not a very good one.
Like Fraser’s other books, A Dream Defiant takes place during the Napoleonic Wars. We meet our hero, Corporal Elijah Cameron, as he and his men are looting a French supply train after a victory. When one of his men is mortally wounded by a French straggler in a struggle over a ruby necklace, Elijah promises the dying man that he’ll give the jewelry to the man’s wife, Rose Merrifield, so that she can sell it and “be what she wants”. Of course, giving a now unprotected woman in a military camp a treasure like that makes Rose a target for schemers, so she and Elijah enter into a practical marriage of convenience.
And, that’s it, pretty much. The premise is basically a plot synopsis. Rose keeps saying she loved her husband, but three days after he dies she marries Elijah, and a week after that they’re knocking boots and exchanging I-love-yous. After that, the book jumps two years into the future, where Elijah solves racism with a clever pep talk. There’s an almost complete lack of internal conflict and very little went into developing the romance.