Take MY LOVE, MY ENEMY by Jan Cox Speas, a classic romance that, until just a few years ago, used to be out of print. The scenes and descriptions were very well done, and Jan Cox Speas has a delicious way with words that manages to be evocative without being heavy-handed. I did like MY LOVE, MY ENEMY, though, and I can think of several Goodreads friends who will love this book more than I did. One point of frustration: at the end, it contains a teaser for BRIDE OF THE MACHUGH, her most popular book, coming soon for re-release. But if you click the Sourcebooks Casablanca edition for this book on Goodreads, Amazon says it's out of print.
Her Mrs. Chudleigh, for example, a pampered English widow who has had difficulty acclimating herself to life in Bermuda, is small and wispy and faded, like a rose drooping on the stem. Even her description of something as mundane as weather had the capacity of dazzling me: It rained for three days, a gray smoking downpour that hovered like vapor above the sea, lashed Mrs. Chudleighs flowers into tatters, and gurgled continually into the cisterns.
Sometimes I wanted more of the romance or social interaction of all of the great characters instead of discussion of war strategies though. This was a fun swashbuckling adventure, even though I did want to see a little more of the romance.
Taken aboard the English frigate, Page learns that the British gentleman she rescued is Jocelyn Trevor, Viscount Hazard of London. But since Page and MacDougall end up on a British warship because of him, Hazard vows he will see her safely back to her father. Page has stepped out of her door and is swept away on one adventure after another as she gets caught up in the War of 1812 and the life of one particular British lord. Speas allows us to see the conflicting emotions of those on both sides of the War of 1812 as Hazard is shamed by the British atrocities at Hampton, and Page experiences gracious treatment at the hands of the British officers when aboard their ships.
In town she ends up saving a proud and elegant Englishman from an angry mob and from there we are taken on an adventure of an epic scale. Like I said, I could never do justice with my paltry review skills. I highly recommend this to anyone that loves a sweeping well researched historical romance with a lively and likable American heroine and a proud and resourceful Englishman.
Set during the War of 1812, MY LOVE, MY ENEMY by Jan Cox Speas is a story of conflicting loyalties and how the fate of individuals can diverge from the fate of nations. But the British Joss protects Page from the harsh realities of nations at war. But individuals compose nations, and Page and Joss must decide if their love can surmount their differences.
I really loved the characters that the author brought to life and she captured the time period wonderfully. The author created a relationship (gasp! In fact, the author did a splendid job with all of the relationships in this book and that is why I enjoyed this story so much.
She attended the Womens College of the University of North Carolina (women could not go to UNC-Chapel Hill until junior year) from1942-46, where she studied creative writing under Hiram Hayden. UNC had a special association with Jan's family: her mother, Francis Howard Cox, who had studied as a high schooler at home in tiny Richlands, NC, was the first in the family to come to the college, taking the train in 1914 to Greensboro to study to be a teacher, and years later Jans daughter, Cindy, attended UNC-Chapel Hill in the first year freshmen women were allowed to enroll. She published two more historical novels, My Lord Monleigh in 1956, and My Love, My Enemy in 1961, before going back to graduate school in 1962, where she received her Master of Fine Arts under southern poet Randall Jarrell at UNC-Greensboro, writing The Growing Season as her thesis.