Debut Review – The Sergeant's Lady

The Sergeant’s Lady

by Susanna Fraser (blog)
Carina Press

eBook – $5.39

Disclaimer–I am a Carina Press author. I promise that this review is as unbiased as possible.

I enjoy Regency Romances, even though I don’t read a lot of them. What I really enjoy is period literature from all throughout the eighteen hundreds, including Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Henry James, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. So even though they are all Brits, you can see that I’m pretty eclectic. I haven’t read a Regency Romance in many years, but this is quite different from what I recall. Those novels never took place in an army encampment.

Anna Arrington is an officer’s wife and the niece of an Earl. Her marriage is a troubled one, as her ignorant husband makes an incorrect assumption about her on their wedding night, and he will neither be dissuaded from his misconception nor will he forgive her. Adding to their troubles is the fact that she cannot seem to conceive. And of course, he blames her. In an vain effort to help their marriage, she goes with him when he goes off to battle with Wellington’s army in Spain.

The novel starts when Anna defies her husband to help a camp follower named Juana give birth to a child. Juana’s lover happens to be best friends with Will Atkins, a popular sergeant with the Rifles. Anna and Will find themselves working together to save the child, earning both of them Juana’s everlasting gratitude and establishing an unlikely friendship between the officer’s wife and the commonborn sergeant.

I liked both Will and Anna. Ms. Fraser did a masterful job especially when portraying a scene from Will’s point-of-view. We easily feel like we are behind his eyes. She even uses a crude term that would immediately make this an R rated blog if I mentioned it. However, I cannot imagine an innkeeper’s son referring to his … maleness as anything other than his c**k. So it worked perfectly.  There were sex scenes, but I wouldn’t classify them as very hot. I did have a disturbing gustatorial (new word! Refers to taste–similar to visual) of bad teeth during the kissing scenes, but that was not the author’s fault. I simply get squeamish at the idea of kissing anyone in any time period that does not include modern dentistry.

If I had any critique, it’s that some of Anna’s problems were rather quickly solved. Which meant, in order to keep the plot moving, we needed no fewer than three villains. You can forget about the Regency trope where one bad-ass stalker of a villain pesters the lady until a climatic battle between the hero and the villain at the end. I do like that the plot was fresh, but I kept wondering when a certain unkilled villain was going to turn back up. Eventually, I realized that we had, indeed, seen the last of him. It’s good that as a reader, I was kept guessing, but that particular plotline wasn’t entirely satisfying. If any villain deserved to be killed, it was him.

Once the villains were out of the way, the reader was left wondering how the heck Anna and Will were going to get back together. I loved the long delays between letters–you sure had to have a lot of patience back then! The ending was very satisfying.

Also, my kudos to the cover artist. The artwork here is just dreamy.

The Sergeant’s Lady was an adventurous glimpse of a Regency period that does not include cotillion balls and tours in the country. Instead of trimming hats, Anna learns how shoot what must have been a black powder pistol. Instead of sleeping in feather beds, they must sleep in caves while on the run. And although Will rescues her plenty of time, in the end, Anna must rescue herself. I really enjoyed it, and I’ll look forward to Ms. Fraser’s next novel.

15 Thoughts to “Debut Review – The Sergeant's Lady”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tia Nevitt, MJFredrick. MJFredrick said: RT @TiaNevitt: Debut Review: The Sergeant's Lady by @susannafraser .@CarinaPress […]

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, Tia. I’m hoping to get an e-book reader for Christmas (can’t justify it otherwise!) and will certainly look up Carina Press books if I do.

    1. Rabia, if you want to try out e-books before you get a reader, there are free apps you can download allowing you to read Kindle or Nook books on a smartphone or computer.

      1. Yes, I have one of those on my PC and a few e-books as well that I’ve never gotten to. I just have a hard time reading anything long on my computer.

  3. Thanks for the review, Tia! I see your point about the unkilled villain being something of a loose end, and I toyed with the idea of working him into the Badajoz section…but since Badajoz was the part of the plot that drew most heavily on actual history I decided to keep Will’s part in line with what an actual NCO in his regiment would’ve experienced and not send him off on a personal vendetta. Whether that was the right choice, or even the choice I’d make if I was writing the book today…I’m not sure.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Aah, don’t second-guess yourself. Although that’s probably impossible. I just have been trained to expect this huge showdown.

      The battle at Badajoz was INTENSE.

      Your great reviews show that you obviously made a good choice.

      1. Thanks! The Badajoz scene was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. I got a book specifically on that battle from interlibrary loan, photocopied almost the whole thing, and went through highlighting everything the Light Division, then wove Will in. I wrote the scenes involving Anna at the same time separately, then figured out how to interweave them for what I hope was maximum dramatic impact.

  4. JenM

    I just won a copy of this and started it today. I’m really enjoying it so far. The writing is good and I love the characters. I’m also happy to read a historical that is set in something other than early 1800’s London, even though the characters are English (well, Scottish in Anna’s case).

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it, Jen!

  5. Agree about the cover art. It’s very striking.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      I fell in love with Will even before I started the story because of this cover. NO ABS NECESSARY! (Subject of an upcoming rant post).

      1. I’m hoping I’ll keep getting clothed heroes on my covers for the foreseeable future. 🙂

  6. JenM

    Okay, I’ve now finished the book and I loved it. Couldn’t put it down, which was a bit of a problem since I was at work all day, but I just kept sneaking peeks on my iPhone when no one was looking. Thanks so much Susanna – I’ll be posting a review on Amazon, I promise. And yes, I love the cover also – it’s perfect for the story and how often does that happen?

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Ooh, I’ll put mine on Amazon, too. Amazon reviews are so helpful for authors!

  7. […] 14th, 2011 Susanna Fraser‘s first novel, The Sergeant’s Lady, came out last year, and I reviewed it here. A Marriage of Inconvenience is her followup novel, and it takes place before the events of The […]

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