Gallant Waif by Anne Gracie

Gallant Waif (Harlequin Historical, #557) - Anne Gracie

Back to cleaning up reviews from the GR conversion. I read and reviewed this sometime last year or maybe the year before.


When Kate Farleigh is kidnapped by Lady Cahill, her deceased mother’s supposed “godmother”, and brought to a ramshackle, dirty house owned by the crazy woman’s grandson she doesn’t quite know what to make of the turn of events. Making the best of an odd situation, she cleans the filthy kitchen and cooks the first real meal she’s had in ages only to find it being eaten by the man of the house! She’s been slowly starving after losing her father and both of her brothers in the war and lets the guy have a piece of her mind. Can you blame her?

It turns out the old lady isn’t totally off her nut. She’s been hatching a plan to bring her grandson back to life. Jack was scarred and wounded so badly in the war he is unable to ride his horse and can no longer hunt. This is a great big deal to Jack because it’s what he loves doing most in the world. After being disinherited and then jilted by his heartless fiancée who is terribly cruel to him he has hidden himself away from the ton and drinks all of his troubles away. The smell of bacon and eggs was irresistible and it is his home after all so when the little waif gives him lip he’s a bit surprised. But he keeps on eating.

The two don’t exactly hit it off but there’s a small spark and Jack is amazed that she isn’t at all bothered by his wrecked face and body. And there’s a reason for that, she’s seen some terrible things and his scars aren’t nearly as awful as he thinks.

Kate is coerced by granny into getting Jack’s house in order. She has had an unconventional upbringing but is a gently bred, pretty young lady and granny has ulterior motives. Bet you can’t guess what they are?

Jack is used to being in charge and doesn’t trust women, especially the pretty ones. Kate is hiding secrets and is headstrong and bossy. They butt heads from their very first meeting to almost the very last page. I should have despised this book from the very beginning for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • He calls her “a little vixen” and a “little minx”. Yes it’s true.
  • He drinks his sorrows away, acts like an ass and lashes out at Kate to keep love at a distance.
  • He gives her angry kisses which she loves and then he storms off in a huff just when things were starting to get exciting because he thinks he's doing it “for her own good”. She deserves better than to be besotted to the likes of him. Yep, he acts like a child and kisses angry. Le sigh.


But . . . I liked it. I know I shouldn’t but I did. The writing was cute and witty and Kate was a charming character, very well developed, caring and a real sweetheart. Loved her. I wanted to love Jack too. I adore me a tortured, scarred hero but I’m not a fan of grown men who act like spoiled children, spouting off insults, stomping off and mumbling an apology after sleeping off the drunk. Ugh. After a hundred or so pages of this my love affair came to an end and it became a bit of chore to slog my way to the end which is a shame because it had such promise. 

The drama! And, oh the angst! It goes on for hundreds of pages but the endless fighting continued for too long and he was a pretty rotten drunk. Kate does stand up to him and throws some stuff at him, good on her, but she always forgave him too quickly and I tired of the repetitive antics long before the book ever thought of being over.

It ends with everything all nicely tied up and the last few pages are much better but I fear theirs will always be a tumultuous relationship.