Catherine Audley, the daughter of Britain's spymaster on the Iberian Peninsula, is far more sophisticated than most young women her age, which doesn't protect her from the machinations of her father, a husband of convenience, or the unrelenting demands of a long war. Over seven years of a first-hand, and highly personal, view of the Peninsular War, she matures into a woman who is finally able to go toe-to-toe with the enigmatic young man to whom she has given years of unquestioning devotion. Only to discover that love cannot compensate for betrayal of trust. Or can it?
While masquerading as an ox-cart driver, the young Englishman known as Blas the Bastard meets Catherine Audley, and his life is changed forever. It is 1807 and France is about to invade Portugal. To protect Cat's father, his gaming establishment in Lisbon, and the British spy network on the Peninsula, Blas proposes a "paper" marriage between himself and young Catherine. She is fourteen; he, twenty-one—both too young for the responsibilities they must assume. Blas is arrogant, dashing, occasionally reckless, totally bound up in the demands of the war, and oblivious to the looming disastrous conflict with his sometime wife.
When Cat finally discovers how badly Blas has deceived her, a monumental clash is inevitable. In no way does the triumph of allied troops in 1814 guarantee a happy ending for two people for whom the war was a personal disaster. Is she a sometime bride, "widow" of a man who never existed? Is she Blas's well-rewarded, but discarded mistress? Or is she a beloved wife whose only rival is her husband's determined expediency in a time of war?
Author's Note: In addition to being a saga of young lovers caught up in a war, The Sometime Bride is the history of the Peninsular War, Britain's fight against Napoleon in Portugal and Spain. The story moves from France's invasion of Portugal and British troops driven into the sea at La Coruña to the return of British troops under General Sir Arthur Wellesley, the fortified lines at Torres Vedras, and the gradual push of French troops across Spain and back into France. Plus the chaotic times in Paris after Napoleon's surrender and the Emperor's triumph as he gathers up his old troops, only to be stopped in one of the most famous and bloody battles in history—Waterloo.
Reviewers Choice Award. "Sometimes a reviewer gets a book so powerful, it's hard to know where to begin to tell about it. The Sometime Bride is such a book. . . . Bride passes every criterion for a successful book that I was given as a reviewer. Ms Bancroft weaves a most unusual love story in among the threads of history that cover eight years. She gives a clear and concise overview of that terrible, yet glorious, age that held both Napoleon and Wellington, and she makes it fascinating by showing it to us through her characters' eyes. . . ."
Jane Bowers, Romance Communications
"The writing talent displayed by the author is wonderful . . . Ms. Bancroft's detail for historical events is phenomenal. . . ."
April Redmon, Romantic Times
Five Stars. "Set against the bloody Napoleonic wars, The Sometime Bride is ambitious, engrossing and absolutely wonderful."
Rickey R. Mallory, Affaire de Coeur
Five Stars. "The Sometime Bride by Blair Bancroft is a riveting and well-written story . . . The tension between the hero and heroine sizzles.
Janet Lane Walters, Scribes World
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