Who is Captain Harry Fanton?
When Juliana Milford first encounters Captain Harry Fanton, she finds him arrogant and rude. There’s no way she’ll fall for his dazzling smile! Her visit to Chadcombe House was always going to prompt questions about her scandalous family, so she’s touched when Harry defends her reputation. She’s discovering there’s more to Harry than she’d first thought…
A man so plagued by the demons of war, he’s sworn he’ll never marry, no matter how tempted…
Let me just start with just what a beautiful book this is, I literally devoured this on go, I couldn’t stop reading. It was one of those moments of “just one more page. Let me finish this chapter, oh wait what’s going on? I best read the next.” and on and on it went and before I realised it, I was on the last page, I absolutely love it!! I was drawn to Harry Fanton the minute I met him in the previous book; Waltzing with the Earl and I am so pleased that Tinley has shared his love story with us. I have always loved the enemies to lovers trope and whether that was intentional by Catherine Tinley, but that is how I saw this, their bickering and sniping at one another and the way they have this private war burning below their polite façade is hugely enjoyable to see evolve throughout the story.
The story begins in – Dover, Juliana and her mother have just gotten off the boat from their long journey from Brussel’s as they make their way to visit her newlywed best friend Charlotte Fanton; Countess of Shalford. After taking refuge out of the pouring rain in the Kings Head pub they unexpectedly meet a suave, arrogant and breathtakingly beautiful soldier who riles Juliana up into a right tizzy, they immediately have a battle of wills – which does carry on throughout the book, and yet as much as Juliana at times absolutely detests the Captain, he makes her blood boil with his interference and his arrogance and yet she cannot stop him from persistently popping into her mind and drams at every available moment which really cannot happen she has thing’s that needs to be achieved while at Charlotte’s.
Harry has been sent back to England on an assignment for his commanding officer at Horse Guards, being a man of action, he thinks this is a waste of his time he would rather be on the battlefield with his men than carrying out tedious – if important – tasks. He cannot wait to be back in Brussel’s again, he feels guilty that he has had to leave his regiment and all his personally trained men behind at the front, and he hates the thought of his own men being under the command of another. On his way to see what his task is, he and his faithful Lieutenant stop at one of his regular stopping posts, The Kings Head to take the cover out of the downpour, but what he finds there is quite worth being dragged back to English shores. Harry finds this feisty, argumentative and beautiful beyond compare, a woman who irritates the life out of him and in the same way gets under his skin in a way that has never happened to him before.
she had tried to keep him at a distance, something which he had taken as a personal challenge. Her coolness was no match for his confidence in his ability to charm young ladies.
Both think that once they leave the King’s head, that’s the last they will see of each other, how wrong they were. Once – Juliana spots an intruder trying to break into her friend’s home, obviously, she does the only thing she can do, and wallops the potential thief with a shovel only to realise that it’s the arrogant and irritating man from Dover, but not only that he is her best friends brother-in-law. That is very amusing and Harry even though he has just been attacked by the spritely young woman he is just as flirtatious and wickedly charming as ever. Now they are both in the same house for the next few weeks it is highly amusing seeing them get to know each other, and what we found out about these two individuals throughout the story is emotional and dramatic.
Secrets are lurking in both Harry’s and Julian’s lives, she knows that her mother is keeping things from her, information about her history Juliana doesn’t know what that could be, but she knows that this is the prime time to try to garner what those secrets are. But once Juliana does finally learn the truth she is both saddened and shocked, how could her mother not tell her? Especially as this could change her life. Harry’s secret is that through his experiences from the war he is wounded not physically, but psychologically he is a very vulnerable man who has seen too much horror, seen things that no man should see and those experiences have imprinted themselves on him. He still acts like the cheeky go-lucky chap, with his dazzle smile but deep down he needs help, he is hurting he sees himself as a coward, as damaged and unworthy which is so far from the truth he is a beautiful man inside and out.
This led his thoughts to Juliana, for the thousandth time that day. His chest swelled as he thought of her—her fiery, passionate nature, and the miracle that she could love a man as broken as he.
As I knew he would be, Harry is a real charmer of the highest order and when he decides to flirt and woo, no lady has a chance, Juliana intrigues him he is instantly drawn to her and also calmer around her, even when they are bickering. As he works his own unique magic on her icy armour it is lovely to see how he slowly cracks the ice away with just a smile. But then it isn’t called the “Dazzle Smile” for nothing. But he is a man who is in real pain, beneath the flirtatious military persona he is a man who is suffering, he is tormented. This is why Juliana is such a great match for him, she can match his argumentativeness, his stubbornness and his fire and pride, and yet she knows how to soothe those that need it. She knows how to take care of those that need caring for and vise-versa, Harry is firm and solid, he is the reliable strong arm that she needs to guide her past her own volatile pride.
I do like Juliana after always doing things for herself and never relying on anyone but herself, she absolutely hates any kind of help or as she calls it interference. I feel a really strong connection with Juliana, she is caring for her much weaker mother, and running their everyday lives single-handedly all this is a tough job and she does it with so much dignity. She has got so much pride and just accepting assistance from this stranger is a real wrecking ball to that pride. I think that Juliana could be the best heroine I have met this year she is just a wonderful testament to what a woman can do, what we who care for loved ones do and how much we sacrifice.
‘You are a diamond!’ he declared. ‘A rare find—and I know you will test me.’
I won’t give too much away but the way Tinley has captured the mixed emotions of the Waterloo war is mesmerizing. You feel the sadness and despondency of the men and the civilians. Those chapters that cover the battle are superb, the detailing of what was going on and how everyone was coping and the actual battle scenes where Harry is in hand-to-hand combat are brutal and engrossing. This is atmospheric and so beautifully written and from reading this, I do think Tinley has a gift for capturing those little nuances in human thought and feeling and placing them on the page.
I have been looking forward to this story and it was so much more than I expected, you’ve probably guessed by my gushing how much I love this book and that I cannot recommend this enough, this is a must-read! If you like your charming yet fragile heroes, feisty independent heroines all brought together with a stonking good plot and tied off with some beautiful romantic scenes and moments then this is the book for you.
This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Captain’s Disgraced Lady is released on 28th December and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.