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The Captain of her Fate

The Captain of her Fate, April 2018
Other Bennet Sisters #1
by Nina Mason

Author Self-Published
Featuring: Louisa Bennet; Theobald Raynalds
242 pages
ISBN:
Kindle: B078SWQZ8B
e-Book
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"Imagine Jane Austen with a naughty streak!"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Captain of her Fate
Nina Mason

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted March 20, 2018

Romance Historical

Theobald Raynalds, formerly Captain in the Royal Navy, is moving to his new home in Much Wenlock. Miss Louisa Bennet is so determined not to marry her cousin Charles, the horrid man her father has chosen for her; she will wed anyone remotely decent. Theo is a reasonably wealthy bachelor, and upon learning of the new resident, Louisa decides that she will marry Theo, sight unseen. But when she meets him, she is even convinced he will do just fine; if they can fall in love, it will be even better. There are a few little problems though: Theo has been burned before by another woman; and he feels terribly insecure since one of his legs had to be amputated, a consequence of the Battle of Trafalgar. Can he ever love again?

THE CAPTAIN OF HER FATE will delight Jane Austen fans as the first book of The Other Bennet Sisters pays an indirect homage to the celebrated Regency author. Mentions and quotes from classic Austen novels feature prominently, as do excerpts from the then-banned Fanny Hill. Ms. Mason captures the essence of the era through her obvious love of Regency England, aided by her meticulous research and legendary attention to historical detail. Among other things, I loved the mention of a barometer, which was certainly a commonly used device at the time, and I can't recall ever having seen it mentioned. I also found the historical equivalent of a car chase very entertaining and clever!

The author's graceful prose is reminiscent of that of Miss Austen, and Ms. Mason's use of language and idioms is flawless, even in the dialogues. The story is rather simple, however complications abound even if Theo and Louisa conclude they suit rather early. THE CAPTAIN OF HER FATE is a quaint love story, with the addition of some sizzling sex scenes, which happen at the right place and the right time, and do not distract from the romance. Ms. Mason adheres to the notion of things being seen in black and white, which was the custom back then: Theo and Louisa are very nice and engaging characters, but the villains are as dastardly as expected in a genuine historical novel. Vibrant descriptions enhance the narrative, and I really loved a couple of secondary characters, namely Winnie and Lieutenant Churchill, respectively Theo's sister and his best friend. If you have always wondered what a Jane Austen novel would look like if sex happened, THE CAPTAIN OF HER FATE is the perfect book for you!

Learn more about The Captain of her Fate

SUMMARY

Captain Theobald Raynalds lost his leg at the Battle of Trafalgar and with it, his belief any woman could find a cripple like him unobjectionable enough to love.

Louisa Bennet finds Theo incredibly attractive—both as a man in his own right and as an alternative to the odious cousin her heartless father has arranged for her to marry.

First, however, she must convince the Captain her interest in him stems from the man he is, scars and all, and not on his being the lesser of evils . . .

Excerpt

After the Captain’s sister quit the room, Louisa took her advice and dozed until a knock on her bedchamber door brought her back to herself. Just as she opened her mouth to ask who was there, Capt. Raynalds called through the door, “Miss Bennet, may I have a word?”

She hesitated before answering. As desperately as she wanted to see him and hear what he came to say, her sense of propriety told her to refuse him entry. Entertaining a gentleman in her bedchamber was shockingly improper. Under the circumstances, however, she could not bring herself to send him away.

Pulling the bedclothes to her chin to cover the sheer nightgown his sister had loaned her, she said, “Yes, Captain. You may enter.”

He opened the door and, with the aid of his cane, limped to the bedside and looked down at her, his expression inexplicably stern. “Does my sister speak the truth?”

The question at once shocked Louisa’s heart and aroused her fury. She could not decide which she would rather do, curl up and die or strangle his sister with her bare hands. How could the girl betray her confidence by telling her brother her plans?—if, indeed, that was what she had disclosed. Perhaps it was not, in which case, Louisa would be wise to tread carefully to avoid betraying her own secrets (and his trust in the process).

She blinked under his probing stare. “How can I answer that when I have no idea what she might have told you?”

“She told me your father intends to marry you off to a man you despise.”

He looked very unhappy, which pleased her immeasurably. “Yes, that is true. He wants me to marry the cousin to whom his estate is entailed—to ensure my mother and sisters will have somewhere to live after he departs this world.”

The Captain, hands stacked atop his cane, shifted his stance uneasily. “I can understand his motives—he is only doing what he believes best for his family, one can only presume—but I cannot agree with his forcing you to marry a man you abhor. Does he know how much you loathe your cousin?”

“He does.”

“And he insists upon you marrying this man in spite of your feelings?”

“My feelings are of little consequence to my father, I assure you.”

He scrubbed a hand down his face. “Surely there must be some way around marrying this person.”

Did she dare share her idea? No, she mustn’t. If she did, he would never come to trust her. “There is not, short of running away and living as a gypsy.”

He stood there a long time, as if fighting an inner battle. At length, he said, “There is one way I can think of…but I fear I am not the man for the job.”

Louisa’s heart wilted. “You are right. We are strangers. So why should you care what becomes of me?”

Softening in demeanor, he came closer and sat beside her on the bed. “I do care what becomes of you, Miss Bennet—beyond what I am willing to admit—but my heart is not quite invested enough to put a ring on your finger. Neither is my trust. And now, in addition to my standard reservations, I suspect you mean to use me to avoid marrying this cousin of yours.”

“That is untrue!” She looked away so he would not see the desperation in her eyes. “Well, it might be partially true… but I shall endeavor to fall in love with you as soon as I’m able.”

He smiled at her sympathetically. “Forgive me. I by no means wish you unhappy. Truly, I do not. But neither can I consent to binding myself to a woman on the off-chance she will fall in love with me.”

“So, you refuse to help me?”

Turning away from her, he said, with an indignant edge to his voice, “That is supremely unfair, Miss Bennet. Have I not helped you already? Did I not come to your aid when you fell off your horse? Did I not take you in when your own mother left you to my care? Have I not kept my distance to protect you from scandal and ruin?”

The last bit astonished her. Did he really fear what might happen if they were alone together? Were that indeed the case, she might exploit his passions to aid her cause. Much as she hated to resort to such deceitful measures, she could see no other way to escape her marriage to Charles. And it would not be entirely an act; for just now, with him sitting so near, so dangerously near, she wanted nothing more than to be in his arms.

“What if I want you to ruin me?”


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