A man off to war. A woman left behind....waiting, hoping, praying. A letter sent and one received. Words on a page....a lifeline for both. Words on a page....windows to their souls.
We're settling in for a long siege. It's uncertain as to when I'll have the chance to write again. This is not my last letter, only the last for a while. Do not doubt that I am coming back to you someday. Until I can hold you in my arms, these worn and ramshackle words are the only way to reach you. What a poor translation of love they are. Words could never do justice to you, or capture what you mean to me. Still...I love you. I swear by the starlight....I will not leave this earth until you hear those words from me."
These are the words sent by Captain Christopher Phelan to Prudence Mercer, the woman he thinks he has fallen in love with. Yet little does he know that Prudence is not the one writing to him. The true author of these letters is Pru's eccentric friend, Beatrix Hathaway. Beatrix did not intend to send letters filled with such tender sentiments. But on their way to Christopher, her "words turned into heartbeats on the page". What will happen when Christopher returns, looking to find Pru and express his undying love for her? What would happen if he found out about Beatrix's unforgivable deception? Christopher could never be hers, even if he declared his love for her on paper....those were just words, weren't they?
This was a truly romantic read, especially the letter correspondences. Words are the most romantic form of seduction any man can use, and Beatrix becomes truly seduced. She is the youngest and most quirky, non-conforming, and lovable member of the Hathaway sisters. Being such a huge animal lover, she often appeared peculiar, wanting the company of animals more than people. Yet in this book, the author has managed to show her true spirit, her love of life and her ability to accept others for who they are. Beatrix doesn't try to change Christopher, even if the horrors of war have changed him forever...even if he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder...even if he is driven by guilt. She understands him, accepts him and loves him. This, Lisa Kleypas' last in the Hathaways series, is a tale with a more serious undertone, but one that will still make you smile, cry and sigh with contentment. This book is a wonderful end to a wonderfully unique series that touched my heart.LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON is book number two for the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
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