The Caretaker Wife (Heinemann 1977)
The Caretaker Wife is Barbara Whitehead's best selling novel, charming and fascinating, the novel represents a romantic and exciting period in history with all the descriptive presence that characterises Whitehead's novels. The novel also has all the intrigue and excitement of her later work.
The Caretaker Wife is a period romance with a charming, domestic setting in the English Midlands and London. The year is 1803 and the short-lived peace with France is ending. rumours sweep the country of the vast army of invasion which Napoleon has mustered in the French ports.
Caroline Hill is a thirty-year-old spinster who imagines herself content to spend the rest of her tranquil days attending to her father's comforts and being a tower of strength in family and village life. Then, much to her surprise, she is asked in marriage by Lieutenant Richard Welby, a young widower suddenly recalled to naval service; he needs a capable unpaid feminine head to manage his debt ridden estate and care for his five motherless children during his expected long absence. With an abundance of realistic detail, the story tells how Caroline meets this challenge, which includes a whiff of witchcraft and a powerful temptation to infidelity.
The Caretaker Wife - Whitehead's best-selling novel