Love In The Afternoon
St. Martin’s, Jul 2010, $7.99
In the mid 1850s while in combat in the Crimea, British Captain Christopher Phelan knows the one thing that keeps his morale high is correspondence from Prudence Mercer. Pru tells her friend Beatrix Hathaway about Christopher’s latest letter that fondly tells about Albert, the regiment’s dog. Beatrix tells Pru that she would like to reply, but they agree it should be under the latter’s name. Over time as Beatrix writing as Pru sends and receives letters from the front, she falls in love with her Captain.
After being wounded in battle, Christopher is sent home. He also suffers from battle fatigue having seen so many horrors. He turns to the woman he loves, the author of the letters that saved his life, for solace. However, he quickly realizes that his Pru could not write those letters as she has not one drop of intelligence near what was written to him. He soon realizes Beatrix who he initially ignored is his beloved pen pal, but even love may not be enough to overcome the nightmares that still haunt him day and night.
The newest Hathaway’s historical romance (see Mine Till Midnight and Tempt Me at Twilight) is a great entry with a Cyrano twist to the strong story line. Bea is terrific as she goes from support character in previous entries to lead protagonist while battle fatigue sufferer Christopher has his work cut out once he is home as he fell in love with his pen pal “Pru”. Although the support cast detracts at times from this engaging mid nineteenth century tale, Hathaway fans will relish the animal lover and the vet falling in love.