Lovers and Enemies

Written by Anne Herries
Review by Sarah Johnson


Caroline Saunders always expected to marry Harry Mortimer, the ne’er-do-well son of her parents’ closest friends. But when dissent between King Charles and his Parliament threatens to explode into civil war, Lord Mortimer firmly sides with the king, while the Saunders family – though not Puritans by any means – believes in justice for the people. An attractive and sensible girl, Caroline is hardly crushed at the loss of her impending betrothal. Perhaps now she can acknowledge her attraction to Harry’s dashing younger brother, Nicolas, who earns his father’s wrath by joining Cromwell’s army. Amidst all this turmoil, Caroline’s father falls ill, and while he recovers, she and her beautiful Quaker cousin, Mercy, travel to Oxford to stay with family. In this unexpected center of Royalist activity, Caroline risks much to be with Nicolas, while Mercy, hopelessly attracted to Harry against her better judgment, makes an impulsive decision fated to change all their lives. I sympathized with both pairs of lovers, especially the flawed but very human Harry and Mercy, and Herries ably conveys the heightened emotions of wartime. As appropriate to the era, this enjoyable, historically sensitive romance has an ending that’s part happy, part bittersweet.