An Unconventional Officer

by Lynn Bryant (Peninsular War #1)

In 1802 Europe was going back to war, Sir Arthur Wellesley was commanding troops in India and the officers and men of the 110th infantry were about to get the shock of their lives.
An Unconventional Officer is the story of Paul van Daan, younger son of the wealthy owner of a shipping line, who joins the 110th Infantry as an ambitious junior officer and travels to India in 1802 to serve under a young and relatively inexperienced general with a reputation to make.

I love Peninsular war history, and I love Peninsular War romances, but sadly, not this one.

Recently Lynn Bryant was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trust. I tried to read her books previously but there has always been something about the romance in them that I just can’t engage with. I have tried to figure out what it is but come up with nothing other than the fact I haven’t liked the main characters very much. She is an excellent historian and those portions of her books are great to read, so I decided to give her books another chance..

Sadly, yet again, they’re not for me.

In An Unconventional Officer the main character is Paul van Daan whom I found to be a rather detestable, smug, and arrogant man. No matter what the hint or suggestion in the title of the book regarding his behaviour, knowing this period of history as well as I do, with the rules and regulations that ordered the lives of the men (and the wives, women, and children) of the British army, the differences in rank, social standing, and privilege between officers, never mind the immense and almost immeasurable gap between officers and the common soldier, among other irritating behaviours, I found the irregular and unorthodox social relationship with his sergeant highly questionable. Even so, I stuck with it for several chapters.

Finally, my irritation, eye-rolling, and general annoyance became too much. I had to put it down or throw it at a wall, and as I was reading on my Kindle, ‘stop and delete’ was my only sensible option.

However…

while I did not like An Unconventional Officer, and will not be returning to her books ever again, I do suggest you try them. Many readers have rated them highly, and as I have already said, the war bits are very good.

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