I've taken a break of a couple of months from reading historical romances, having found them all becoming rather samey and irritating. My Darling Caroline was a random selection this morning, and I hoped that it would be rather better than much of what I
had been reading before the break. It is. Not that it is particularly original or has especially good plot or characterization, but the sum total of its parts makes for an enjoyable read.
Caroline is an on-the-shelf spinster of 25 with an overarching love of botany. She is also hamstrung by an amazing proficiency at mathematics. Both botany and maths are the preserve of men, and Caroline is continually disappointed that she is unable to study at university or even be taken seriously because of her sex. When her father says she must marry the Earl of Weymerth, she sees the possibility to get away from her family
- and, eventually, to seek an annulment and travel to America in the hopes that she can have some success with her botany studies there.
Caroline and the improbably-named Brent start married life as strangers, both
with reasons for keeping their distance, but their mutual attraction means that soon they begin to learn more about each other. A fairly unimportant and unconvincing danger subplot only slightly disturbs the book's main progress as Caroline and Brent beginning to appreciate each other.
One thing about historical romances that was really irritating me is the vast number of inaccuracies in terms of dialogue and situation. It must be difficult for a 21st-century American to write about life in 19th-century England, but some of the things
I've run across in books just seem so obvious. Despite the dedication at the beginning of this book to a lady "...for her superior knowledge of all things English," there
are mistakes - most often in dialogue (misuse of likely, quit, write, etc.
- all common errors). My Darling Caroline seems better than many, but the errors still irritated this picky reader.
Overall, though, this is a good read with some interesting characters, and the central love story has a great deal to recommend it
(even if I had to suffer through yet another Big Misunderstanding).