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The Lady Soldier

by Jennifer Lindsay

      Young Sergeant Jem Riseley leads a Forlorn Hope and succeeds against all odds so it is small wonder that a grateful Wellington promotes him to ensign. Trouble is, "he" is actually her - Jemima Cullen, a lady in trouble and on the run who has taken the King's Shilling and is now in the thick of the Peninsula War. As an ensign Jem shows great promise, being a crack shot and insisting on the best from her men but then she runs into Captain Tony Dorrell, the man who stole her heart and then went off to marry another. It seems as though it is inevitable he will unmask her as Tony takes his new ensign under his wing, but there is more at stake here than just a romance...there is a war to fight.

As the author's note says, there are plenty of instances of real lady soldiers, so this is not such a far-fetched notion and a good basis for a Regency romance. The Sharpe-like setting of the Peninsula War makes a good foil for the romantic parts, as do the later scenes in London high society. For once I wished the book could have been longer as there seemed to be so much to say about it all - very rare praise from me! Jem is a plucky woman forced into soldiering and determined to make a good job of it, while Tony balances wanting to protect her with admiration for what she has done. As a fan of adventures, I yearned for more action (although there is a fair bit) but generally this is a better-than-average and unconventional Regency that ought to appeal both to fans of this sort of thing, and maybe even those who normally avoid it. I particularly liked the way it managed to avoid some of the clichés - although not all of them which is probably against the rules. I hope that this author (who is actually two people) will have something equally unconventional for a next book.

The Book

Robert Hale
June 2005
Regency Romance [1812, Spain and London]
More at Amazon UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005