Feature book: Charlotte
Charlotte by Virginia Taylor
They are the cream of Adelaide society. It is difficult to break into that society, but Charlotte has achieved it.
Charlotte is desperate. She sets the scene, rips her dress and finds herself married to Nicholas. Just as planned. What she hadn’t planned on was a husband who only wants another man’s child and can only sleep with men. Or so she thinks. Charlotte’s mother has died and the income on which they relied has also ceased, and Charlotte feels she needs to ensure her security, and that of her cousin, Sarah.
Nicholas Alden likes his drink. In fact, each day he goes to bed drunk. He wants to forget about the loss of his love, who was a married woman, and his child. His father would like him to show more interest in the family holdings, but Nicholas would rather dwell on his losses. He has a mistress he visits most nights.
Nicholas observes and listens to those around him, particularly his best friends, until he has an issue with one of them. He resists his friends’ attempts to ‘rehabilitate’ him. However, Nicholas becomes concerned when the gossip says his wife, Charlotte, is out riding with another man early in the morning. As Charlotte becomes more involved with running the household, Nicholas sees that other side of her and slowly his attraction to her becomes evident. They make a decision to have sex (as opposed to making love) and he swears they will never have children because of his past experience.
As the days of summer roll on, he learns many things, and two of those have a great impact upon his life. He learns that the woman who had his child lied to him and that Charlotte has a family secret that eventually comes out. This starts him thinking and he wants to become a better man.
I liked the pairing of Charlotte and Nicholas. They are totally suited to each other. Nothing shocks Charlotte too much and she is able to lead her life and to deal with whatever is thrown at her. Eventually, Nicholas is able to see her for the jewel she is, and make her the centre of his world.
I have really enjoy reading the three books in this series. Each one has captured an aspect of Adelaide society from long ago and we, as the reader, get a glimpse of what it may have been like. For those who know Adelaide, there are treats for the reader as many of the places will be recognisable.
Reviewed by Heather
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.