Another lovely book by Carla Kelly. At this point, I think she will never disappoint me. From the 4 books I've read, I have to say this would be in position nr. 4. That does not mean it was not good though.
Once again, both characters are extremely likeable: Lydia and Major Sam Reed. Lydia lives as Cinderella, having to take care of her beautiful but stupid, younger sister, and her mother abuses her. Gosh, how I hated them. I mean, is not that it is her step-mother, but her mother! She treats Lydia as a servant and likes to point out how plain her daughter is and how many prospects she has for her younger daughter. Kitty was not better; she was stupid and whinny and selfish. And her father! Very weak character, who does nothing for her eldest daughter.
So they may catch a husband for Kitty, both girls go to a church where the soldiers are (the war just ended). There both girls show their true colors: Kitty was a selfish, silly girl, and Lydia as compassionate and helpful to others. She meets many soldiers who are wounded and require attention, and among them is Major Reed. The chemistry between Sam and Lydia is instantaneous; such a camaraderie! It was very sweet from the very first moment. Besides, the need of a wife for Sam was a very funny story.
Lydia begins to feel braver because of the way soldiers are treated by the ton, and due some speech she makes in a party and after being abused by her horrible mother, she leaves the house. Somehow she ends up being married and being a mother, in charge of a wounded husband, an orphan girl and in need of money.
Lydia is a wonderful character. She is never depressed (even when she has to be), she is brave and she is the one who saves her new family. She does not need a man, because she can do it on her own (although I would have loved if Sam was more useful). She is not a prude who is embarrassed to do things or who regrets to do things or who gets desperate when she needs help or who gets angry for silly things.
The story that Sam and his friend made up (about him being married for some time and having a daughter, only to please his mother and aunt) was a lot of fun. But I also think that poor Lydia had a lot in so little time. She never complains or pities herself, but to be a mother before even consummate the marriage! To take care of a wounded husband! To be in the middle of nowhere with no money!
And I must confess I love the covers of Signet Regencies. They are really sweet. Like in this book, it shows Lydia cutting Sam's hair (she does that a lot) and they look happy. It is when they may have started to fall in love. Of course, you can't never tell in CK's books because the falling in love is graduate and due to little things.
It is very clean and not cliche at all. If it were, Kitty and her mother may have gotten what they deserve. Ah, well...