Genre: Historical Romance (WWI 1914-1918)
AS WAR BLAZES ACROSS EUROPE, THREE COUPLES FIND A LOVE THAT IS POWERFUL ENOUGH TO OVERCOME ALL THE ODDS…
A KISS GOODBYE
As war looms, genteel Flora yearns to be more than just an observer. She finds a revolutionary kindred spirit in soldier Geraint—but will their fragile love be crushed before it can start to bloom?
Soldier Robbie cannot forget his one hedonistic night in Paris with beautiful waitress Sylvie. But as Europe burns, can these two star-crossed lovers ever be reunited?
FOREVER WITH ME
Nurse Sheila is horrified to discover her new boss is the French surgeon she woke beside after Armistice Day! Fighting for their love will be the bravest thing she’s ever had to do…
I have to say thank you to my dear friend, Wendy Loveridge, for recommending not only this book but also talented author Marguerite Kaye. I now look forward to reading more of her books.
The book contains three emotive and evocative love stories, each set against the backdrop of World War 1. The link to all them is the Carmichael family…Lord and Lady Carmichael, daughter Flora, sons Robbie and Alex …and their ancestral home, Glen Massan in Argyle, Scotland. The war will have far-reaching effects on everyone at Glen Massan.
A Kiss Goodbye – 1914
Like many other ancestral homes, Glen Massan has been requisitioned for army use and Corporal Geraint Cassell has arrived to supervise the requisitioning. A former Welsh miner and socialist, he has a deep-seated dislike of the rich and privileged. Despite the spark of attraction that flares when he meets Flora, he regards her as nothing more than “an empty-headed social butterfly”. However, as they work together overseeing the handover, Geraint realises that Flora is not at all what he expected. He finds her quick-witted and practical with a real talent for organisation. Flora is confused by Geraint’s initial animosity but, the more she gets to know him, the more she realises how much they are alike despite their social differences. He makes her take a good look at her life and gives her the self-confidence to take control of her own life and not conform to the expectations of her family. Even as they fall in love, will Geraint’s shameful secret and his personal fears destroy any chance of happiness they might have?
Dearest Sylvie – 1916
Robbie Carmichael, the eldest son and heir, has seen action in France for the past two years. However, he receives a serious head injury and is hospitalised. Battle hardened, scarred and totally disillusioned by the war, he is just a shell of a man, shunning any form of human contact. During his period of convalescence in Paris, he is drinking in a nightclub, trying to numb the constant nagging headache when his attention is drawn to a beautiful woman at the bar. Robbie is surprised to find himself aroused by the sight of her. Fixed by the intensity of his gaze, Sylvie Renaud is drawn to the stranger at the bar. The war has deprived Sylvie of everything… her family, her home, her job… leaving a deep-rooted sorrow and anger in her soul. One dance leads to a night of uninhibited passion leaving them both embarrassed the following morning. Robbie returns to the front but cannot forget Sylvie and pours out his feelings in letters…you made me want things that I cannot have, feel things I am afraid to feel, think things I can’t bear to think about…hoping she feels the same. Falling in love is inevitable but are they willing to take the biggest risk of all?
Forever With Me – 1918
Sheila Fraser, Flora’s friend and a former maid at Glen Massan, has been working as a volunteer field nurse in France since the beginning of the war. She fell in love with one of the doctors only to find she was just another notch on his bedpost. Her reputation compromised, she had learned a hard lesson and dedicates herself to restoring her reputation and achieving a level of nursing worthy of any fully-trained nurse. She’s determined never don a maid’s uniform again. The Armistice Day celebrations are in full swing in Boulogne and Sheila is sharing all the excitement of the day when she sees a French officer watching her intently. Before she can say no, Luc Durand has swept her into his arms. For four years, Luc has devoted his life to his work but Sheila’s zest for life draws him like a magnet. Soon they are kissing and making love with total abandon. Next morning, shocked by her wild behaviour, Sheila flees. Returning to Glen Massan, she finds the house being converted into a hospital dedicated to treating ex-servicemen. Despite her wartime nursing experience, she is not a qualified nurse and all her job applications have been rejected. Flora has persuaded the hospital trustees to fund a nursing position for Sheila but the new chief surgeon, whose arrival is imminent, has to approve her appointment. Sheila is shocked to discover that the chief surgeon is Luc. Real passion still smoulders between them but is Sheila brave enough to follow her heart and can Luc put the past behind him and embrace the future.
Each of the stories is beautifully written and, through her characters, Ms Kaye explores the effects of the war on both soldiers and civilians and on the very fabric of society. Lord and Lady Carmichael exemplify the privileged class whose way of life would disappear forever while Geraint represents the voice of socialism.
For me, Dearest Sylvie, because it is set in 1916, captures all the horror, disillusionment and tragedy of the war. Ms Kaye does this in subtle but effective ways such as Robbie’s thoughts when he sees Sylvie…
She would smell of summer, of flowers, of that delightful sweet spiciness that was so peculiarly female. She would not smell of mud and despair.
or in the moving letters Robbie has to write to the next of kin of his fallen comrades. These encapsulate the real human tragedy of war.
Sheila symbolises the determination of women to break free of the traditional roles imposed on them.
The love scenes have a raw intensity which seems so realistic given the circumstances. I’m sure there were many lonely and disillusioned people who sought a moment’s forgetfulness of the horror of war in someone’s arms and feel that they were still alive.
Some Memorable Moments
A Kiss Goodbye
“I have never met a socialist before. Are they all as outspoken as you?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never met a laird’s daughter before. Are they all as feisty as you?”
“Oh, I should think so. Centuries of trampling over serfs and turning crofters out of their homes into the winter snows leave their mark, you know.”
She liked the soft burr of his accent, which made her think of misty Scottish glens and rugged Highland scenery. She liked the combination of auburn hair and grey-blue eyes the latent strength she could feel in that lean, hard body. She liked the hint of sensuality in his unsmiling mouth. For once, she saw not the soldier but the man. A vulnerable man who gazed out at the world from behind his attractive carapace like a hermit crab living in an abandoned shell.
Forever With Me
From wild elation, his spirits plummeted. Luc swore under his breath. Etiquette! Sacre bleu, he had just made love to a complete stranger, and he was worrying about etiquette. What was he thinking? How could he have allowed himself to become so carried away? He should have stayed at the hospital. He should not have danced with her. He should not have kissed her. He certainly should not have brought her back here.
With its sensual love stories, memorable characters, real sense of time and place, and eloquent writing, I can highly recommend NEVER FORGET ME.
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read August 2014