Carla Kelly is something of a cult favorite among Regency romance readers, beloved for her distinctive voice and focus on ordinary people, both in the literal sense that she's as likely to write about a merchant or an estate manager as a duke, and that even her dukes seem like everyday folks. She's been without a publisher for several years, so her fans were overjoyed when Harlequin Historicals published Beau Crusoe this month.
It's an unusual book and in many ways a dark one. The hero survived a shipwreck, an ordeal in a lifeboat as the other survivors gradually died, and then five years alone on a small island. While the main action of the story takes place after he's rescued and returned to England to accept a prize for a treatise he wrote on some of the fauna of his little island, we revisit that lifeboat and that island quite a bit. I found it a disturbing read, but once I got a few chapters in it was impossible to put down.
If you'd like to read it, buy it quickly. It's already sold out on bn.com and close to it on Amazon, though it looks like at least some copies are still available over at eharlequin.com.