I picked this one up a while ago based on the unusual pairing for a regency, and then promptly forgot about it since my TBR is out of control. When I was ranting again on Twitter about how hard it is to find romance with POC characters, someone brought it up as a suggestion. I’ve been starting and discarding books for days, and this was only a novella, so I figured I’d give it a shot. It was a quick read but, unfortunately, not a very good one.
Like Fraser’s other books, A Dream Defiant takes place during the Napoleonic Wars. We meet our hero, Corporal Elijah Cameron, as he and his men are looting a French supply train after a victory. When one of his men is mortally wounded by a French straggler in a struggle over a ruby necklace, Elijah promises the dying man that he’ll give the jewelry to the man’s wife, Rose Merrifield, so that she can sell it and “be what she wants”. Of course, giving a now unprotected woman in a military camp a treasure like that makes Rose a target for schemers, so she and Elijah enter into a practical marriage of convenience.
And, that’s it, pretty much. The premise is basically a plot synopsis. Rose keeps saying she loved her husband, but three days after he dies she marries Elijah, and a week after that they’re knocking boots and exchanging I-love-yous. After that, the book jumps two years into the future, where Elijah solves racism with a clever pep talk. There’s an almost complete lack of internal conflict and very little went into developing the romance.