When Horses Fly
by Laurie Bishop
Cora MacLaren has spent the last several years as a companion to one or another of her older relations, nursing some through their final illnesses. When a distant relative, Lord Wintercroft, invites her to come and live with him in his large castle, she assumes that he will want her skills as a nurse. What she finds instead is an unusually unhappy family and a man old enough to be her father intending to marry her! Lord Wintercroft doesn't get along with any of his family, and since he's a cantankerous old man, he tells the whole family he will marry Cora just to keep his money out of their hands. Cora sees that there is some healing required in the family, but it's not of the physical kind.
Alexander Neadow is a handsome man, but he has just as many secrets and grim expressions as the rest of the family. Cora is drawn to him, but enters an engagement to his father anyway. She is determined to find out why Alexander and his father are always at daggers drawn, and she feels that acting the part of mistress of the house is the only way. Alexander, for his part, is suspicious of this pretty young woman who agrees to marry his ill-mannered father. He is stuck in the middle of an unusual predicament, needing to find out what is really going on in this castle on the coast and having to contend with his own feelings as well.
I liked both Cora and Alexander, and the story was interesting right from the beginning. I sympathized with Cora and her difficult financial situation, and admired how she made the best of a bad bargain. But, her constant curiosity, which did get her into trouble, annoyed me. She acted a bit too foolishly for an otherwise intelligent woman. Alexander, too, was a bit too brooding, but still an attractive hero.
The story of the various members of the family was interesting, but I confess I had a hard time keeping them straight. If this had been a longer novel, there would perhaps have been time to explore all these extra characters. In the end, I liked most of the book, but felt that it was a bit rushed. It seemed like it was too soon for Cora and Alexander to fall in love so deeply, and the final reconciliation between father and son seemed too easy.
This was a quick and pleasant read, but was just a little unsatisfying.
“She has fallen in love with her fiancÃ©'s son. Will they find a way to be together?”
October 2005, 214 pages
Since her father's death, Cora MacLaren has lived with various sickly relatives, exchanging her resourcefulness and excellent nursing skills for bed and board. Her latest situation, however, presents unusual complications. Her cousin Lord Wintercroft seems to have filled his decrepit stone castle with relations for the express purpose of needling them.
It soon becomes clear that his pincushion of choice is Cora, whom he intends to wed before disinheriting all others, including his son, handsome but fierce Alexander Neadow. A houseful of bad blood may be too serious an ailment for even Cora to cure, especially when she herself starts to develop an aching heart for Alexander. But this angel of mercy isn't about to succomb to a fate worse than death without offering up a healthy dose of love.