Love Alters Not

by Patricia Veryan

As far as Veryan’s 3 series of books, I prefer the more domestic family and home and society centered novels rather than the picaresque more adventure oriented. Love Alters Not is primarily the former and culminates in a terrific court-room drama. It truly is one of the great scenes in Veryan’s canon. No one does swords and pistols better. One of her trademarks is to inject high comedy and even slapstick into deadly intense duels and fights. This novel features one of her classics.

Despite it’s strengths, Anthony, the hero, was a little too noble and a little too long suffering and pitiable to suit my taste. There is one horrible act that happens later in the book that puts the sorrow and pity issue way over the top. It was too much for me. Never were bad guys so evil and good guys so noble. And never were those in the middle so conflicted and confusing! Of course it is true that the lower the depths the hero can sink to, the higher he can rise. 

Sir Anthony’s salvation is very very satisfying, as is the evil ones’ downfall. One of the big mysteries in the book is how such a brave and noble character could possibly be guilty of cowardice on the battlefield. All is solved by an appearance of a certain Duke of Marbury that we first met in Mistress of Willowvale. This nobleman rivals Heyer’s Duke of Avon or Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo in terms of an all-powerful and all knowing presence. His unexpected appearance when it appears that all is lost is epic. He is one of Veryan’s great characters and will also be featured in the last book of the series, The Dedicated Villain. Despite the fear and trembling that the Duke engenders in those he despises, he is also gentle, kind and funny. His nickname is “Muffin”, of all things. Of course the love story is one of my favorites. And Dimity (Mitten) is one of my favorite heroines. Brave, funny, and adorable, her influence makes itself felt throughout the series and even into the next. **4 1/2 stars out of 5**

April 28, 2017

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