Ames’ review of Castaway Dreams by Darlene Marshall
After a lifetime in the Royal Navy, surgeon Alexander Murray finds himself castaway with brainless beauty Daphne Farnham and her fluffy little dog. While the dog could be supper, she’s useless.
Daphne can’t understand why the humorless surgeon doesn’t like her—everyone likes her! She’s beautiful, rich, and has excellent fashion sense, a most useful skill when putting together an ensemble.
This unlikely pair (and Pompom) will have to figure out how to survive together, and may discover that each holds attractions not obvious at first—or even second—glance.
After Sea Change, I was really looking forward to reading Darlene’s next seafaring adventure. And Castaway Dreams did not disappoint!
Daphne Farnham is an empty-headed miss with more concern for the latest fashions than anything else. At least that’s how everyone sees her. And Dr. Alexander Murray is no exception. He is a dour man, older than his years, and he can see nothing useful about Daphne’s existence. He is a bit harsh, but then again, he can be a harsh man. These two are both passengers on the Magpie, heading for England. For Dr. Murray, he’s retiring from being a navy surgeon and for Daphne it’s to get her life back together. She ran off to Jamaica with a young man but he died, so her wealthy father has fetched her home. She’s being escorted home by a dragon of a chaperone. There are questions around Daphne’s reputation – was she married to that young man she ran off with? Why does she still call herself Miss Farnham?
Things get a little complicated when the chaperone dies and the Captain asks Dr. Murray to watch over Daphne. This is the last thing Dr. Murray wants as it has him almost constantly in her irritating presence. But Daphne is the kind of character who despite some obstacles (or prickly personalities) in her path, she remains sunny and optimistic and looks for the good in people. This makes her very naive but not stupid. Dr. Murray realizes that everyone looks at Daphne and sees a beautiful woman and they don’t expect much else from her. This is especially true when the two are shipwrecked and Daphne more than carries her weight on their deserted island and doesn’t expect Dr. Murray to take care of her. She wants to help him and she wants to learn.
As Dr. Murray and Daphne get to know each other and see beyond the surface, are their feelings brought on by their circumstances or will it fade if rescue comes?
I thoroughly enjoyed Castaway Dreams! I liked how different the two characters were. Dr. Murray, who appears older than he is, with his politeness and correctness and stuffiness. Compared to Daphne’s easy-going manner and eternal optimism. Their differences are what made them perfect for each other. Another thing I enjoyed was Daphne’s belief that Dr. Murray is older than he is. Daphne is a young 23 and Dr. Murray is in his mid-30s. But his sea-faring life has led to him going grey about the temples. With his stern demeanor, it’s no wonder Daphne thinks him elderly. And it grates on his nerves when she makes references to his old age or comparing him to her grandfather. I also love Daphne’s reaction when she figures out that Dr. Murray is not quite that old. *g*
Daphne has the potential to come across as a very annoying heroine and fortunately for us, she isn’t. She’s never been challenged in her life. And Dr. Murray challenges her in a way that no one ever has. When they’re rescued of their island, Dr. Murray pretends that he and Daphne are married so their captors won’t try anything with Daphne. At first I was a bit annoyed with Daphne’s reaction. I was thinking she cannot possibly be that dumb and then Daphne explains her reluctance about a fake marriage. That saved her from being TSTL in my opinion. Another thing I found refreshing about Daphne was her attitude towards her sexuality. She enjoyed her marital bed with her young man before he died. And when she discovers Dr. Murray’s true age she becomes very randy. She even tells him he’s going to have to be the smart one and diffuse anything that may happen between them. LOL I loved that.
And for those of you wondering, Dr. Murray has made an appearance in Sea Change.
Throw in a little lapdog and this is one enjoyable voyage I highly recommend! 4 out of 5
Before I wrap things up, I wanted to share a fun excerpt:
Dr. Murray glanced up and met Daphne’s eyes across the table. He held her glance and the cabin became oddly hushed in the moment. It was an interesting face, she thought, broad and wellmade, with a blade of a nose. His forehead was high, the rufous hair neatly swept back and kept short, a style more suited to practicality than fashion. Not a handsome face like Mr. Carr’s, and one could easily overlook it, focusing instead on the surgeon’s gruff demeanor. After all, when one was having dealings with a surgeon, what his face looked like was generally the last consideration, wasn’t it? You looked at his hands, the strength in his arms for bone-setting or bone-sawing.
Daphne broke the glance and looked down at those hands, finely shaped, with long fingers holding his fork and knife in a delicate manner, handling them like instruments, no motion or effort wasted.
Then she remembered that those hands would shortly be on her, helping her out of her clothes, and she felt the warmth flow across her cheekbones. Startled, she looked up at Dr. Murray. He was still watching her face, but now his eyes were darker, more brown than the blend of forest colors she saw when he was in the sunlight. Unaccountably nervous, Daphne licked her lips and his eyes grew darker still at the motion.
This book is available from AmberQuill. You can buy it here in e-format.
You can read more from ~ames~ at Thrifty Reader.