From riches to rags, Grace has had to swallow her pride and get a job as a baker. But everything changes when she’s the beneficiary of a surprise inheritance. Her benefactor’s deal comes with a catch: give up her life of toil and live in luxury only if she marries his illegitimate son, a prisoner of war. It’s an offer she can’t afford to refuse. But her husband-to-be is dying, and he begs her to take one of his men instead—to marry purely out of mercy…. A marriage of convenience with a complete stranger… Could this arrangement ever work?

Reviewed by Lady Blue

Grace Curtis has slipped.  She readily admits this, and any number of her former friends are willing to tell her, lest she forget.  She formerly led a relatively privileged life, but her widowed father, too prideful and blind to see he needed to economize, died penniless and debt ridden.  So, at age eighteen, Grace was forced from her home with nothing and nowhere to go.

She approaches Mr. and Mrs. Wilson (who own the local bakery) and offers to work free for them, just for room and board until her debt to them is paid off.  Then, if her work is satisfactory she will become a paid employee.  They agree. She works hard and is successful, even creating new goodies to tempt the locals.  One of the locals, Lord Thomson, takes a particular liking to one of her treats, and this becomes the basis for their strange friendship.  When Lord Thomson becomes ill, she takes the confections to his home.  After his passing, she is advised she is required to be at the reading of his will.

Lord Thomson has stipulated that Grace be allowed to reside in his estate’s dower house and be allocated a sum of money per annum.  He also requests that she agree to accept his illegitimate son, who is an American, being held prisoner of war, as a parolee to her.  This means the son must always be in her presence until the war ends, or he can be shot on sight.  Grace agrees, but when arriving at the prison, she finds that he is very ill and near death.  He implores her to take one of his men in his place.  She accepts the sailing captain, Rob.

Thus begins the real story of Rob and Grace’s developing love, as well as the pettiness and jealousies and intrigues going on around them that prevent their happiness.  This is a lovely story.  Carla Kelly has taken a real incident from history which happened at Dartmoor Prison during the War of 1812 and brings it to life in this tale.  Highly recommended read.

**Kindle price as of review date $5.09


I’m married, and a full time accountant by day.  At night, I feed my fiction addiction.  I have a home library of over 5,000 books, all shelved in order by author, and all posted in my computer on a spreadsheet.  Said spreadsheet includes my own rating and a brief synopsis after I’ve read it.  This is a project I started about ten years ago, and doesn’t include the thousands of other books I have read in the 35+ years of my life prior to that.  (I did say addiction, right?)  I own the name of a website that I do not have up and running yet.  Having problems setting it up, even with software guaranteed  easy enough for anyone to use.  I’m working on it…..


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