Not Quite a Husband

Published By: Bantam

Book Category: Fiction, Romance

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Reviewed by Sarah Nagle

Bryony Asquith’s late Victorian life may have been privileged, but it has also been full of loss – her mother at a young age, her father’s support when she decides to study medicine, and her romantic illusions when her marriage to golden Leo Marsden shatters before it has really begun. In order to cope, she is constantly on the run – to Europe for study, to America for work, and finally to Victorian India’s Northwest Frontier to isolate herself as a missionary doctor.

This dangerous spot is where Not Quite a Husband opens, and where Leo has come to find her after her sister’s pleading telegram. No one is more surprised that he has made the exhausting journey than Bryony – except, perhaps, for Leo himself. For Bryony and Leo share a complicated past, starting with their neighboring childhoods, and it colors both their present and any future chance of happiness.

As the two head back to “civilization,” they are thrown together by illness, a prolonged journey over harsh terrain, and the very real possibility that they are stumbling into tribal warfare. The heightened tension and danger give them plenty of time to reassess their overwhelming attraction to each other and the hurtful reasons for ending their brief marriage. Short episodes from their past are deftly inserted, building a history of both attachment and mistrust between two intelligent and complex characters both looking for a committed future. And just as they are beginning to reconcile their past and hope for a future, the Northwest Frontier erupts into warfare between native tribes and the British Army.

A definite keeper for readers who want both an engrossing plot and a love story that grows and deepens in a realistic way between two people who just HAVE to find their Happily Ever After. Add to that an adventure-filled historical setting and lush, evocative prose by an author who read her first romance novel with the aid of a dictionary (I was surprised to learn that English was not her first language),

Note: Check the Website for extensive information on the geographic and historic background to the novel, complete with maps of Leo and Bryony’s treacherous route.

Armchair Interviews says: A totally engrossing read.

Author’s Web site:

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