Back in the ‘80s, Bantam Books had a line called Loveswept, and within that division was a saga called The Delaney Dynasty Series. So successful was that series that they came out with a second series called The Delaneys, The Untamed Years II, and I’ve picked Velvet Lightning by Kay Hooper as #7 on my Most Romantic Book List.
I have to admit, I didn’t read the other books. In fact, I only read this one because my grandmother had read it and marked “wonderful” on the front page. She’s dead now, but I love looking at her signature; it makes my heart hurt just a little.
This book does have the political interweaving of the other books in the series, but I focused only on the love story between Catherine and Marcus. The setting is the
, and Catherine has moved her father there over four years ago because of his ailing health. Desperate to hide his growing insanity and preserve some semblance of a normal life for him, she whisked him to the island for the widely regarded doctor who has retired there. island of Port Elizabeth
She meets Captain Marcus Tyrone, a man who used to be a privateer during the Civil War and now has his own unbelievable secret that he has to keep hidden. The two start a love affair that lasts two years, a love affair that Catherine accepts because she thinks she can never marry and have children because of the insanity of her father. She doesn’t want to pass that onto her own children.
But things change when Marcus starts falling in love with Catherine. He wants to settle down, marry her, and star his own family…and when he makes his intentions known she decides to end it. Only Marcus refuses to let her go, and when Catherine’s father discovers their affair, his warped mind transposes Catherine with her mother, thinks his wife is cheating on him, and takes matters into his own hands.
Catherine’s desperation is the reason why this book is amazing. Well, that and Marcus’s refusal to let her go. This woman has existed on fear for so long that it’s hard for her to think of anything other than the moment, which is why she likes the schedule of a sea captain. He comes and goes so frequently that she doesn’t have to worry about the long term commitment.
She loves Marcus so much and doesn’t want to subject him to a wife who might one day go insane, and yet Marcus stands by her side. Of course, insanity doesn’t really run in the family and the book sheds fear of a different kind from the knowledge of STDs, so the happily ever after is there, of course, but it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride along the way.
For a minor book within a large series, this one really packs a punch.