Miss Peterson and the Colonel

Fenella Miller
Miss Peterson and the Colonel
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Aspen Mountain Press
Release Date
February 2011
Historical Romance

Lydia Peterson is content to run her stud farm and remain single, the last thing she wants is an autocratic brother-in-law interfering with her life even if he is the most attractive man she is ever met. Colonel Simon Wescott, on leave from the Peninsular War, believes that a wife has no place in a soldier's life until he comes into contact with his infuriating, headstrong sister-in-law.

However when a series of dramatic events throw them together and both their lives are endangered they are forced to reconsider their first impressions.

Will Simon be able to compromise his duty to put King and country first in order to save Lydia's life? Can she give up her independence and become a soldier's wife?

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Apr 10, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
197 people found the following review helpful
As someone who is fairly convinced that chaos and mayhem dogs her every step, it was a treat to read a book about someone even more crisis-prone than myself. The fact that Miss Peterson was more than capable of managing the hubbub and facing down the dastardly plots that surround her made the book great fun, and the give and take between her and the Colonel who claimed her heart made for a very interesting conflict between two very strong-willed characters.

Lydia Peterson is every bit an independent woman. Quick-witted and clever, she is the manager of one of the most respected stud farms in England and an expert rider. Determined to live her life on her own terms, Lydia is less than amused when she is invited to London to meet the brother of her elder sister's husband. Colonel Simon Westcott is a hero of Waterloo and her family's first choice to be Lydia's husband. Lydia, however, takes an immediate dislike to the overbearing, arrogant Colonel, who seems to think her nothing more than another subordinate at whom to shout orders. But when she is forced to rescue him after a riding accident, Lydia comes to realize that beneath his military stiffness, the Colonel may have some hidden depths.

However, Lydia is summoned back home before she can learn the Colonel's most important secret: he has been working with the government to prevent radicals from rescuing Napoleon from his exile in Elba. Having been entrusted with protecting a codebook that holds the key to the rescue plot, the Colonel has become the target of every villain who would seek to plunge Europe into another bloody war. When the codebook ends up in Lydia's luggage, he has no choice but to find and protect not only the book, but also the woman he has come to love. When ruffians lay siege to Lydia's estate, the Colonel has no choice but to take charge until the militia arrives. Lydia stands ready to fight at his side—but finds herself relegated once again to the role of bystander, and is heartbroken to see the Colonel revert to treating her like a minion. Will their love be able to withstand the battle of wills?

I have a soft spot for Napoleonic heroes, so I found the whole premise of this book quite entertaining. In spite of the grand historical implications, the action of the book was quite small in scale, with the battle localized to the Peterson estate. This set off the battle between Lydia and Simon quite well, and I found the idea of a two-front war—the battle against Napoleon's thugs and the one between Lydia and her Colonel—quite neatly done. The historical details were also quite well done, especially the fantastic use of Georgian slang used by the villains of the piece.

I did have a few problems with the development of Lydia's relationship with the Colonel. While the tension between them was fantastic, it was a little hard to see how the deeper part of their relationship developed. A few more pages of interaction before Lydia left London might have made a huge difference, but overall, it didn't spoil the story for me, though it made some of the later developments seem a little hasty.

Also, while I understood the Colonel's need to control every situation, especially those involving the potential for mortal peril, I found his tempers a bit much at time. Again, a little more space to work out the finer details of his psyche might not have gone amiss, for while I liked the Colonel, I wanted to know more about him before I fell for him completely.

That being said, I had a great deal of fun reading this story, and was thoroughly satisfied with the conclusion. The conflict between the two characters was very interesting to watch play out, and I enjoyed the interplay between the secondary characters, as well. Lydia, above all, is a unique heroine with great courage, and it was a treat to share in her many adventures.
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