I was thinking of books I loved the other day and remembered Came a Cavalier by Francis Parkinson Keyes. I read the book as a teenager and it made a lasting impression on me. I thought it was, hands down, the most romantic, touching, emotional book I’ve ever read.
I couldn’t find the book as an ebook, so I settled for a used copy. When it got here, I immediately opened the package and the book. Lord love a duck, but that font was tiny. No kidding, I was debating whether I wanted to hurt my eyes by trying to read the book. I finally did.
Here are my impressions then and now:
- Everyone loves her.
OMG, get me something savory to balance all that sugar. I can’t take it. Connie (the heroine’s name) is perfect. All the other American female characters are portrayed as mean, grasping, silly, or stupid. Only the French woman, who manages to convince Connie to marry the “Cavalier” by talking to her about “covering” and foals (insert massive eye roll here) is portrayed as decent.
Connie has a linguini spine. She dithers. I have to say that I’ve NEVER met a character who DITHERS as much as she does. I grew to hate her about 65 pages in. Yep, hated her.
Okay, he was a horseman, and he looked good in black. Why did I think he was a hero? Because he was French? He had the most insane paternalistic view about Connie. I had the impression that she impressed him with her blond hair and that she was beautiful (didn’t I mention that? No one was as beautiful as Connie.) Good mare material. I hated him, too, but it took longer.
The weird stuff
I’ve mentioned that I read the book as a teenager. At that time, it was already an old book. It was published in 1947 and it shows.
But, there were two scenes I’ve always remembered:
When they were walking back to her hut after midnight mass.
When Tristan boards the train and intercepts her on the way to Paris.
Guess what? Both scenes were ONE sentence long.
I guess my teenage imagination plumped them up, changed them, and enhanced them like mad. The hero and heroine I adored was something of my own creation. Odd, hmm?
I’m so glad for the experience of reading the book when I was a teenager. As I said, it resounded greatly with me then. The fact that it didn’t this time doesn’t take away from that experience.