The heroine of "Forced to Marry" (1987) has an advanced case of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and can't speak a full sentence without stopping for air, e.g. "I have brought...Lord Locke to meet you...Grandpapa and to...tell you that we are...engaged to be...married."
She has a tyrannical grandfather who is trying to marry her off to one of her nasty cousins, and spends much of this novel, her "eyes dark with fear," "giving little choked laughs" (I think this might be another symptom of COPD), praying for the hero to save her, and "trembling like a leaf." At one point, the hero, Lord Locke (his first name is Valiant) realizes that "her eyes were larger and more frightened than they had been yesterday."
In spite of all of the above, he falls in love with her (this IS a Barbara Cartland novel). The two nasty cousins eventually drag her to the altar and try to force a really clueless vicar to marry her to one of them. Valiant rescues her just in time, marries her himself, and they live happily ever after.
If you consider the above a 'spoiler' then you obviously haven't read a single romance by this author, because they ALL FOLLOW THE SAME PLOT. Only the names, and the color of the heroine's eyes and hair change.
How do I know this? I've probably read a gross of these fairy tales for women who would like to believe that somewhere, in a parallel universe, they are a Barbara Cartland heroine who will never have to worry about leaky head gaskets, constipation, and a husband who falls asleep with the channel changer resting on his pot belly.
Barbara Cartland led a far more interesting life than did the virginal heroines of her later formula romances, of which this is one. Indeed, some of her earliest publications in the Gay Twenties were banned by the Lord Chamberlain as 'too racy.' In all, the Queen of Romance published an estimated 723 titles before her death at age 98 in May, 2000. She broke the world record for most books written in a single year: 26.
I suggest you skip Barbara Cartland's four autobiographies and read the one published out on Wikipedia. She really was an extraordinary lady, and if the remark about Princess Di that is quoted in this article can really be ascribed to her, Barbara Cartland was also an acute judge of human nature.
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