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Marry in Haste

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Member Reviews

I love gothic fiction. It could be full of clichés and the strangest and the most unbelievable twists, but still I enjoy reading it. There is something alluring about foreboding, malicious atmosphere of these kind of books and about dark, brooding heroes with hidden depths and horrible secrets that the lonely heroine has to discover. Unfortunately, “Marry in Haste” was a bit of a disappointment for me. There were some things that I really liked about it. I liked the beginning, the novel started very promising. I enjoyed dry humour and practical approach to marriage shown by Miss Camilla Forest:  

“Romance, I begin to see, is something of an expensive commodity and I am not sure that I can afford it.”

Camilla in her dire circumstances decided to accept an offer of marriage made by Lord Leominster (called Lavenham by his family). He had to marry in haste for his grandmother’s money. Also, he declared that he hated women. Of course he had some clandestine reasons for that. 
The character I liked the most in this book was Lord Leominster’s grandmother. She was funny, practical and could bear no romantic nonsense:   

“You’ll do far better for Lavenham than one of those milk and water society misses who think marriage is just another kind of nursery game.”

Unfortunately the promising start led to convulsed plot. This novel was published for the first time in 1969 and it felt badly dated. Even for me, an enthusiast of gothic-fiction, the intrigue in this book was too far-fetched. Honestly, when I read it, I was like: WHAT?! But, the most annoying thing about this novel was the way the characters treated foreigners and how they viewed Portugal. Only the English way was the right way for them. The English breakfast was the best breakfast in the whole wide world. The Portuguese houses were dirty, the foreigners were annoying and their customs pointless. I was hoping to discover the beauty of Portugal and its atmosphere with the characters and was badly disappointed in this regard. But I am not giving up on this author and I’ve decided to read a different novel written by her. Maybe I will enjoy it more than this one.       

I received "Marry in Haste" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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Marry in Haste by Jane Aiken Hodge
This is a lovely nostalgic read for me.   I remember reading many of Jane’s books after I left School, all her novels are very readable, usually romantic and always with a feisty heroine.  I really enjoyed re-reading this one and may go on to read some more, as they are nice and light.  This story involves a young woman who marries initially as a marriage of convenience, gradually turning to love, and all the misunderstandings that follow.  The book is very readable, nicely written, and with a satisfying conclusion, and was well worth a diversion from my usual choices.
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This is the third Jane Aiken Hodge novel I’ve read and my favourite so far. Based on an earlier story, Camilla, which was serialised in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1961, Marry in Haste was originally published in 1969. It is set in England and Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars and has just the combination of romance, suspense and history that I am coming to expect from her novels.

The saying “marry in haste and repent at leisure” perfectly describes Camille de Forêt’s situation. Having fled to England with her father, a French Comte, and changed her name to Camilla Forest to distance herself from her French origins, she has spent several years in the home of the Duchess of Devonshire. Following the death of the Duchess, Camilla found a position as governess in another household but when we meet her at the beginning of the novel she has been dismissed from her job and sent away with no money and nowhere to go.

A chance encounter with the Earl of Leominster when his carriage passes her on the road seems to provide the perfect solution to Camilla’s problems. She needs a husband, a home and some money; Leominster (or Lavenham, as he is known to his friends) needs a wife in order to claim his inheritance. In the sort of plot development which will be familiar to readers of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, Lavenham proposes to Camilla and she accepts – on the condition that it will be a marriage in name only...

Marry in Haste is an enjoyable and entertaining novel; it’s not particularly original and most of the plot twists are very predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to read. The romance between Lavenham and Camilla is thwarted by misunderstandings, lies and communication problems, which makes it feel very contrived at times, but it’s satisfying overall – and anyway, things which would be likely to annoy me in a more ‘serious’ novel feel much more acceptable in this sort of book. There’s also a secondary romance later in the book, involving Lavenham’s younger sister, the lively and irresponsible Chloe, and I enjoyed this storyline too.

Most of the action takes place in Portugal, where Lavenham is sent early in the novel to carry out secret diplomatic work. Camilla and Chloe accompany him there and promptly find themselves caught up in the conflict involving France, Britain, Spain and Portugal which has been escalating in Europe. There are some lovely descriptions of Portugal and enough historical detail to give the reader a basic understanding of the Peninsular War, but the focus is always on the characters and the relationships between them. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to continuing to work through Jane Aiken Hodge's novels.
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Camilla Forest, having lost her post as a governess because of the attentions of her employers' oldest son, accepts Lord Leominster's sudden offer of a marriage in name only. He is on the verge of leaving for a diplomatic post in Portugal and needs a wife to placate his grandmother. His flibbertigibbet sister, Chloe, accompanies them when they go. As they attempt to forge a marriage, they find themselves plagued by secrets and misunderstandings, as well as the wider dangers of 1807 Portugal.

First published in 1969, and now available as an ebook, this classic Regency romance holds up well. The only jarring note is the repeated reference to both 17-year-old Chloe and 20-year-old, newly married Camilla as "the girls." Worth reading.
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Camilla Forest has been fired from ger job as a governess. She finds herself stranded on the sude of the road, when a carriage carrying Lord Leominster, goes past her. The carriage stops, and backs up to see if she needs help.
Camilla finds herself staying the night at his estate. Before too long she has entered into an agreement to.marry Lord Leominster. Imagine her surprise when she finds herself and her sister in law trying to escape Napoleon Bonaparte's company of mercenaries. How did she get here. All she wants is to get herself back to England.  Herself, Chloe and her baby.
Interesting. 
5 Stars
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When she is dismissed from her position as governess, Camilla Forest, daughter of a French nobleman who fled France, makes a marriage of convenience with Lord Leominster, who is a diplomat. She accompanies him and his sister to Portugal, where she slowly falls in love with her husband.

This Regency era novel I found to be intriguing. Camilla was a sympathetic lead, even though at times I wanted to shake some sense into her. Her situation and, in the beginning, her choices made sense for her.

Lord Leominster was harder to read. He wasn't present for most of the narrative, which made the romance more difficult to understand. His sister was a terror and needed to be sent back to the schoolroom. Her character arch was the least believable part of the novel. 

Overall, not a bad read, and I would recommend this to readers of the Regency era, looking for a more historical edge.
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I got to read this book off NetGalley and I reckon, it makes for an interesting adventure in terms of the countries explored by the characters. On romance, well, is it safe to say that I wanted to get inside the book and knock the daylights off Lavenham every few minutes? Is it also safe to say that I was bogged down by so many descriptions that I had to cast it aside, not once but thrice in order to think straight? If you're into historical romance, damsels in distress and knights or lords in coaches....by all means, give this a read.
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I was given this book as an ARC through Net Galley for an honest opinion.
I was sure I had read this book before it had the Georgette Heyer quality that I am sure many Historical Romance readers remember from way back in the mists of time the late 1960s. I had to go online to to find out that yes it was a reissue. That set the mood for me to sit back and enjoy an old favourite author and reacquainted myself with this wonderful historical romp. The two main characters are Camilla Forest and Lord Leominster and their wonderful story to their final HEA is a real fun and dangerous adventure, I am sure many reader will enjoy. The wonderful Jane Aiken Hodge always wrote her stories for not only enjoyment but ones that we never forget.
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Excellent writing, fun characters, sappy romance, and a hint of adventure is exactly what I needed. The Book was fun, and entertaining all around. I loved the characters, the settings, and the plot. Marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes in the book universe, and this definitely delivers!

My only complaint for this was that it felt rather long at times, and there were a lot of conversations that I just wasn't interested in. No fault of the author of course it's just my attention span.

Overall five wonderful stars!
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3 ½ stars for this historical romance.

Jane Aiken Hodge wrote biographies of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. Her sister was Joan ‘Wolves of Willoughby Chase’ Aiken. Impossible to resist, then, when I saw that one of her novels was newly available to read: Marry in Haste was first published in the 1960s but has now been re-issued by Ipso Books.

The book's central character is Camilla Forest, daughter of a French Comte who is forced to flee Napoleonic France with nothing. She finds employment as a governess but this has unravelled by the time we meet Camilla, and she finds herself in difficult circumstances. When she meets Lord Leominster and he proposes marriage as a business arrangement, Camilla agrees. So far, so familiar: this is similar to many Victoria Holt/Phyllis Whitney type Gothics that I devoured in my student days.

But after these opening chapters, the novel takes a different turn. Leominster is a diplomat and is sent to Portugal, joined by Camilla and Leominster's young sister Chloe. Hodge writes of Napoleon's armies, spies and diplomacy, of Portuguese festivals, as well as of the growing friendship between Camilla and Chloe, and for me it all added interesting layers to this romantic fiction.

This novel is not flawless: too often there are misunderstandings because characters have not communicated their feelings or reasons for their actions, the portrayal of Portuguese customs and so on felt a little dated, and the pace of the book flags in places. Nevertheless, I found Marry in Haste to be a fun, light-hearted read and I would happily read more by Jane Aiken Hodge.

I received this ebook free from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Romance, history, spine-tingling escapes - it's all here. Great historical romance.
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I picked this book partly because I recognised the author's name and I think that is because I read some of her novels in my youth. Despite the reasonable amount of historical background and the setting at the outbreak of the Peninsular War, this novel seemed rather dated. Also, the predictability of the romance side of things meant that it was the history which made it interesting. Don't think I will bother with any more Jane Aiken Hodge.
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Set in the time of the Napoleonic wars this is a good story with lively characters. Heroes, heroines and spies ,a good tale.
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Love this author's way of telling stories. While some of her characters may be predictable, they were still enjoyable to read about. The storyline was interesting and relatable.
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Marry in Haste is an interesting historical fiction novel. The book was mostly centered during the tense political situation in Portugal where Lord Leominster was assigned. Written in third person point of view centered on Camilla Forest, I found myself engaged with her thoughts and the struggles she experiences throughout the story. The presence of memorable supporting characters and its twists give this book many interesting layers. The pace of this book was consistent. In regards to the relationship between Leominster and Camilla, the budding romance was slow as it most probably was in this era especially for those who married without love. Some scenes in this book were memorable and captivating.

However, I found myself unsatisfied at some point that I could not ignore it. The first impression given by the author and interpreted by me as a reader, I saw Camilla as a strong, determined woman with a quick wit and rational. So when the utterance of lies on Camilla’s part was executed, I, in a blink, saw the incoming outcome. Engaging that it was to follow through Camilla’s growth as a woman and a wife especially in a hard time of Bonaparte’s ruling, the predictability disappoints me. More so that there were scenes that exasperate me, but I prefer not to spoil the book. Despite the author’s brilliant way of constructing this novel that I commended, I find it hard to connect with the characters. There were a few questions left unanswered that if were explained, I think will help in strengthening the plots even more.

I must confess while I do sound overly critical in reviewing this book; in all honesty, I was divided in rating this book. The book was interesting and enjoyable that I confess at first time reading, it gives me a quick book hangover and I was tempted to give it a 5. But as I re-read my notes and be reminded of things as mentioned earlier, I cannot help but to re-evaluate my decisions. Therefore, I believe that this book deserves a fair 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

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DISCLAIMER: I received this book from NETGALLEY in exchange of honest review. The opinions in this book that I have expressed are my own.
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Camilla Forest has been raised in England , an Emigre from Bonaparte's France , since she was a small child .
Her fortunes change forcing her to taking a post as a Governess ........which ends in immediate dismissal after the Son of the household makes improper advances- for which she is held responsible .Penniless and stranded on a lonely roadside, on a cold and wet evening she is rescued by Lord Leominster , well known for his dismissive attitude to women .
He presents her with a way out of her difficulties , and his ..... a marriage in name only .
Camilla grudgingly accepts and soon finds herself in Portugal , supporting her husband during negotiations to try to halt the French advances ,
Everything that Camilla thought she knew is turned upside down with the return of her long lost brother - a Bonaparte spy and sympathiser .
Separated from her husband and the British contingent she must endeavour to find her way home , along with her young sister-in-law , avoiding those that would try to capture them and use them .

I found this book to be quite slow and unbelievable in places - but overall enjoyed the process of both main characters falling in love set against the background of war .
I look forward to the next book in what appears to be a series , featuring Camilla's sister-in-law and the secret agent who helped them escape.
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Marry in Haste,  Jane Aiken Hodge


Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Women's Fiction, Historical Romance

Quick moan as usual about Woman's fiction – why? Just why do we exclude a whole segment of readers? Men can and do enjoy writing and reading romances....

Republished from a 1969 story, but doesn't feel dated, the advantages of a historical novel I guess. 

Its a fun read, I don't review many historical works, but like to take a dip back in time for a change from whatever else I've been reading, especially if its been a heavy suspense or intense fantasy work. Kind of recharges/refreshes my brain. 
Camilla was a lovely girl, lucky too, but a book where she ended up on the streets and died wouldn't be much fun would it ;-) Or long...I liked her willingness to try and make her way, her determination to make the best of every situation, and of course her loyalty. 
Lord Leominster seems quite a cold guy when we first meet him, but he has his reasons, and he's kind to Camilla, and to his wayward younger sister. 
Much of the story takes place in Europe at the height of the French/English/Spanish wars and Leominster is heavily involved uncover in some dangerous work. Camilla once again needs to pull together all her resources and do her best to keep them all safe. 
There's some drama here, quite intense at times, and of course some romance, but which is very muted, more a slow kindling of love coming from mutual respect. Its how things often were back then though, with so many arranged marriages, so where it would have irked me in a contemporary romance it felt perfect here. I did like the way things got bad before they became better, I do love that lost love potential dramatics in a romance and here it worked well for me. 

Stars: Five, a fun and interesting read, felt very period appropriate and with some terrific characters.  

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
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It was a good book. Didn't particularly like the situation Camillia found herself in but loved the identify surpise of Mr. Smith.
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Camilla Forest is on the sid eof the road waiting for the mail coach after being dismissed at her first job as governess. The son home from school is to blame. A coach stops to help and the after a nice dinner at his home she is surprised to receive an offer of marriage with conditions. Havenham has been called to servve in Portugal and though he is not too happy with women he needs a wife. His grandmother is also pressuring for a wedding. Camilla is not interested in marriage but this may turn out as she would wish too. Havenham's sister comes along and off to Portugal with the French causing much trouble to take over the whole of Europe. Camilla finds herself in quite an adventure without her husband but at least she has his sister by her side. Is the diplomat service more important than she is? We will find out in the very interesting story that unfolds keeping you wondering what will be next.
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