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Friday, September 3, 2010

Lady Gallant by Gini Rifkin

Lady Gallant by Gini Rifkin
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (345 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Disowned by her father and still mourning the death of her fiancĂ©, Josephine Posey joins Florence Nightingale’s brigade of nurses bound for the Black Sea. Thousands of British soldiers desperately await these angels of mercy and a new life awaits Josie. Amidst the chaos of death and despair, she finds a spark of hope, lighting the flame once more inside her soul.

In search of the truth, Garrick Allen, one of Britain’s first war correspondents also journeys to the Crimean Peninsula. To him the soldiers seem all but abandoned by Queen and country, and as he smokes his cheroots and makes friends with a bottle, he writes his bold but honest dispatches for The Times. Not wanting anything more than to finish his job and go home, Garrick is blindsided by a nurse with attitude who offers him a new slant on life and a reason to love.

Garrick Allen is sickened by the Crimean War, but Nurse Josie might be the perfect medicine for his ailing soul.

Josie is one of the many nurses bravely setting out for the Crimean Peninsula in order to aid the British soldiers fighting there. That alone is testament to the strength of her character. There she finds the wounded soldiers living in conditions worse than she ever could have imagined. However, Josie is not only strong, but resourceful. With even the most basic necessities in short supply, Josie manages to procure food, firewood, and even medical supplies in order to care for her patients.

Josie was prepared for many things when she decided to go to the Crimean Peninsula, but she was not prepared for Garrick Allen. Josie’s first meeting with Garrick is less then cordial. His manners and appearance are more than a little rough, but something about him intrigues Josie. After the death of her fiancĂ©, she never expected her heart to be stirred by another man. Is Garrick her second chance for love?

Garrick Allen doesn’t want anything to do with women and romance. He lives his life as a loner, free from attachments of any kind, and that’s the way he likes it. He was completely unprepared for a woman like Josie. She’s beautiful, smart, strong, and more than a match for him. Garrick soon finds himself thinking about her more then he’d care to admit. Will Garrick open his heart to Josie or close it off forever?

As if life on the Crimean Peninsula wasn’t complicated enough for Josie, Danford Smythe enters the picture. Danford is wealthy and makes it clear that he is interested in Josie. While Danford seems like a perfect gentleman, something about him makes Josie uncomfortable. Is Danford more then he seems, or is just Josie’s imagination?

I truly enjoyed getting to know Josie as a character. Her devotion to her soldiers and all human beings is admirable. She manages to thrive in an environment that has defeated many others. Garrick is the perfect hero for Josie. He is the classic tough guy with a soft heart. I loved watching his tough exterior slowly melt away to reveal the caring man underneath.

Danford Smythe also proved to be an interesting villain. Throughout the story, I thought I had his character figured out. However, at the end of the story, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Danford still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

When I first picked up Lady Gallant, I have to admit that I was only vaguely familiar with the Crimean War. I have read many stories set against the back drop of various wars throughout history. I was intrigued at the possibility that this story might offer something fresh. I was not disappointed. It is clear throughout the text and the notes at the end of the story that Ms. Rifkin researched her setting in order to make it as clear to the reader as possible.

I must also add that I enjoyed reading the quotes from various historical figures at the beginning of each chapter. I found them interesting and thought-provoking and they all seemed to fit the tone of the story well.

Reading Lady Gallant was a pleasure. The characters are relatable and the romance is touching. I highly recommend it to any fan of historical romance.