Title: The Convict’s Wife by Lena Dowling
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises Australia
Imprint: Escape Publishing
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 165 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the author of The Convict’s Bounty Bride comes a new Australian historical about a free settler and the wife he chooses from a workhouse…
For Irish convict Colleen Malone, being framed, transported to Australia and forced into prostitution seemed like the worst that life could throw at her. Then she fell pregnant to a client and was sent back to prison by her cruel owner. Now, her only hope of a decent life for her and her baby is to find someone to marry.
Widower and former London businessman Samuel Biggs arrived in Australia hoping to put his grief behind him. When James Hunter offers him a job on his Parramatta farm, he accepts eagerly. He’ll put his back into his new work, and bury any thoughts of new love and marriage in the rich earth of his new home.
However, all plans are compromised when Samuel is manipulated into visiting a workhouse to choose a new housekeeper, and Colleen seizes her chance — literally grabbing Samuel and begging for her life. The only way Samuel can oblige is by marrying her, but on one thing he stands firm — there is no way he will fall in love…
If you are a fan of historical romances then you are definitely going to want to purchase Lena Dowling’s His Convict’s Wife as soon as possible. It is a beautiful love story that I absolutely loved and hated to see end!!
Samuel Biggs is still deeply mourning the loss of his wife when he arrives in Australia and accepts a position as overseer on James Hunter’s farm. When Samuel accompanies James’s wife Thea to a local workhouse to procure a housekeeper, convict Colleen Malone pleads with Samuel to choose her. Due to Colleen’s prisoner status, she cannot leave the workhouse unless Samuel agrees to marry her. The two wed, but neither are prepared for the unexpected attraction they feel for one another.
Both Samuel and Colleen are in for a big surprise once they are married. Colleen is shocked to learn that Samuel plans to keep their marriage in name only and Samuel is disconcerted by Colleen’s transformation from a dowdy prisoner into a beautiful woman. Colleen has entered the marriage with a couple of big secrets that she desperately wants to remain hidden and Samuel is determined to protect his heart from any more loss.
I adored both Samuel and Colleen and I found them to a perfect fit for one another. Colleen is vivacious and undaunted by her wrongful incarceration and subsequent transport to Australia. She is not afraid to speak her mind and she is willing to take matters into her own hands whenever she needs to. Colleen is very much conflicted by what she feels she has to do in order to provide a better life for her unborn child and it is easy to sympathize with the dilemma she is facing. She is a refreshing breath of fresh air and I very much enjoyed her character.
Samuel’s journey from England to Australia has brought many changes to his life. When the ship’s crew became ill, he was forced into physical labor for the first time in his life and quite to his surprise, he discovered it suited him. Samuel eagerly accepts the overseers position and he is quite willing to work alongside his men. His decision to marry Colleen is a practical necessity and he is quite confident they can keep their marriage free of both emotional and intimate entanglements. Samuel is charmed by Colleen and they are soon enjoying all of the pleasures of marriage, both in and out of the bedroom.
Samuel and Colleen each have individual problems to overcome and while there is conflict between them, they work through it in a realistic manner. Colleen makes a precipitous decision that unintentionally puts her in harm’s way and when Samuel is blindsided by a revelation about her past, their relationship is threatened.
His Convict’s Wife is a sparkling gem that is light-hearted and delightfully angst-free. It is loosely connected to Lena Dowling’s novella, The Convict’s Bounty Bride, but it can be read as a standalone story. All in all, an absolutely fabulous read that I highly recommend.