Calvary Wife by Donna Dalton is an ebook that is currently a bestseller at Fictionwise. I fell in love with the cover and was hoping this would be a good story. What I got was a formulaic romance that bored me to tears. Here is the book’s description:
A night of too much whiskey, a wrongly-numbered hotel door, and an angry guardian force dedicated cavalry captain Chase Brooks into marriage, despite his vow never to endure another loveless marriage. He reluctantly agrees to take his new wife with him to his remote outpost, convinced the pampered girl won’t last two weeks in the harsh conditions of the southwest and will beg to be sent back east. The one thing he didn’t count on was a burning desire for his unwanted wife. Callie Grant embraces the opportunity to start a new life far from the controlling hands of her guardians. Enduring the rough environment of the Indian Territories, she transforms from a timid flower into the poised, self-reliant woman she’s always dreamed of becoming. As her gratitude towards the captain turns to love, she resolves to break through her husband’s formidable reserve and uncover the passionate, loving nature he tries to hide.
This is a marriage of convenience story that opens during Ulysses Grant’s inaugural ceremony in Washington. Callista Louis Grant or “Callie” is the third cousin removed to the new president-elect. Orphaned at a young age, Callie had dreams of marrying a military man. The president’s wife, Julia Dent Grant seems to exemplify what a good military wife should be: confident and perfectly poised.
However, her legal guardians have other plans like marrying her off to a Senator who is x amount years her senior. Horrified, Callie tries to change their minds but is met with resistance and defeat. Her uncle and aunt are happy to be rid of her and she reluctantly accepts her fate. That is until a drunken officer mistakes her room for his own and compromises them both.
After discovering Chase and Callie together, Callie’s guardians assume the worst and demand marriage as recompense. However, Chase isn’t all keen on marriage since his first one wasn’t all that great but accept it he does. After the festivities in Washington, Chase was on his way back to his garrison and his troops. After recent events, he now has a new calvary wife to take with him on his journey. It wasn’t long before I spotted trouble:
Ice flowed in his veins at the thought of the hell his first wife had put him through. Lies and betrayal. Pain and death. He wouldn’t go through that again. Ever.
I was a little hopeful after this sentence:
Grierson read his thoughts. “Not all women are like Miranda [the first wife]. Perhaps if you give this girl a chance…?”
Alas, my heart sank for good after reading this paragraph:
His anger rose to dangerous levels. He hadn’t met a woman yet who didn’t have at least one trait in common with Miranda. And now this one, Miss Grant, who could set things to right with only a few words, was using a lie and her family name to enare him. No, from Eve right on down to Callie Grant, women couldn’t be trusted.
Could the marriage have been prevented even if it was an accident? I don’t know. Callie did remain silent and intentionally allowed everyone to misunderstand the situation. I agree with Chase in that she could have cleared things up with a few words. However, Callie saw this as her big opportunity to start a new life with a good looking man who wasn’t old enough to be her father. I really couldn’t blame her.
The quoted passages you read pretty much sums up my dislike of this story. First, the hero painting all women with the same brush. I had to check the copyright date to see if this was published in the 21st century because haven’t we been down this road before? Secondly, pacing was non-existent. I had read four comic books and two full length novels when I started The Calvary Wife. Third, the romance was disappointing and the chemistry was weak. Chase is adamant that his marriage will be in name only despite subjecting readers to his lust filled thoughts. He complains about her tempting him, luring him with her wily charms. Yet, he’s jealous of any man looking her way and finds himself unwillingly drawn to her. I’d had enough him and Callie who blushes beat red and whose heart skips a beat every time her husband gazes upon her countenance. God save me from silly virgins.
I made the decision to quit The Calvary Wife because it was difficult to continue to read each word, each sentence, each paragraph. So, with that I will say that is is a DNF. The story held promise but it just didn’t deliver for this reader. What I liked about this book was the cover and the historical bits that were weaved into the story. The author uses real historical characters and I do like that in a historical novel. However, it wasn’t enough to keep me turning the pages. DNF. Read at your own risk.
Edited to add: I should have read the book description but I didn’t. So, clearly it is my fault that this book didn’t work well for me because the book’s description clearly states what the story was about from the get-go. My mistake.
[tags]Marriage of Convenience, Donna Dalton, Historical Romance[/tags]