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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Angel of the Lake

***½ Angel of the Lake by Ana Seymour. Historical romance.

This 1993 historical is one of my flea market finds.

Josh Lyman and Kari Aslaksdatter were both passengers on the doomed SS Atlantic. They hadn't met, but Josh had noticed her on deck and been drawn to her then. Josh had taken his wife Corinne on the trip, hoping that time together, away from her pampering, overprotective family, would bring life into their year-old marriage.

But when the ship sinks, Josh can't find Corinne. She's not in their cabin, and he's forced to flee without her.
Escaping from the sinking ship, he discovers the young woman he'd admired lying injured and unconscious in a trunk. He saves her life.

On shore, he searches among the other survivors, but can't find Corinne, and is forced to admit that she's drowned. He checks on the young woman he saved, and finds that her injuries, while not serious, have robbed her of her memory. Feeling responsible for her, he takes her home with him.

They become friends on the trip to his home, and he installs her in his house to recover, over the objections of Corinne's family. She charms his family, falls in love with Josh, and eventually regains her memory. He promises to help her find her brother and other traveling companions in the spring.

The romance between the two of them was sweet, and I enjoyed Josh's dilemma. His relationship with Corinne had been a matter of childhood sweethearts, and had never become a true adult marriage. Corinne had been childlike and spoiled, and the indignities of marriage had sent her crying to her mother. Still, her death before they'd been able to resolve matters between them one way or another, weighed on Josh. And the fact that he was falling in love with, was happier with a woman he'd saved while Corinne had drowned, made the guilt nearly unbearable. His reactions and his pain were very realistic and believable.

Kari, however, was a little too good to be true. The perfect woman, she made everyone blissfully happy. Sang like an angel, cooked scrumptious meals and treats, organized the household to perfection, cured Josh's mother's malaise, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

I was also distracted by expecting to find out where Corinne had been when the ship sank, and why Kari had been in the trunk. Neither circumstance was ever explained, so I was left with a vaguely unsatisfied feeling.

What was fascinating was the depiction of Norwegian immigrants to America. It's not a subject I've seen much about, and I appreciated meeting immigrants who weren't from England, Scotland, or Ireland.


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It's Heather Graham on the cover! With clothes!
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