I just finished reading Susanna Fraser’s debut The Sergeant’s Lady for the second time.

I don’t know where to begin talking about the book. The multi-layered conflict is gripping from page one. The prose is stark when it needs to be stark, and lush when lush is warranted. Most importantly, I will remember the characters, Anna and Will, as among my favorites in Romance.

Not many romance novelists would tell the story of Officer’s wife who is “following the drum” (traveling with her husband’s regiment during the peninsular campaign). Fewer still would be so fearlessly honest when describing her marriage gone wrong and widowhood followed by her deeply transformative relationship to a very unsuitable gentleman. I loved feeling through these characters as they struggled against their attraction and I loved watching them develop the will to fight for the love they know will sustain them.

When I write, I return to a single theme over and over: the difference between a partner the world thinks is suitable and a partner others may condemn but whose love brings light and hope to the character’s life. This story carries that theme to a deeper level.

If you enjoy novels about characters who must fight to survive and, in learning to fight, also learn to thrive, then this is a book you cannot miss.

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