The Napoleonic War is raging and Caleb, a sacked pageboy, enlists as a Drummer Boy in the newly formed 95th Regiment and faces the harshness of army life in Spain. Also struggling with Spain's wild terrain and winter weather is Mary Banning whose single minded attempt to locate her brother, missing in battle, almost ends in disaster when she is tricked and abandoned by her guide. She is placed in a compromising situation when rescued by an officer she loathes. But the colonel's sense of honour demands he marry her to prevent a scandal and Mary's social ruin amongst polite society. How her brother overcomes a bullet in the head, how Caleb exacts his terrible revenge on the Kepples, his former employees, makes for a good read. Among the detritus of horrible secrets, violence and revenge emerge two gentle love stories that bring about satisfactory resolutions and conclusions for all those affected and hurt by the Kepple family.
The author was born near Tetbury, Gloucester in 1941. Her mother was a Land Girl during the war and her father was a soldier. Valerie was evacuated during the London Blitz to Wales. She migrated to Australia in 1951. Before retiring she had a long teaching career, bred Anglo-Arabian horses and was a panel judge for the NSW Arabian Horse Society. She is a keen painter and has held two exhibitions. She lives with her husband near Mount Victoria on five acres of landscaped gardens.