This book left me feeling...confused I guess. Too much whimsy for a serious historical yet not really funny. Not light either.
The h - mid-late 20s, spinster - lives with her father in this tiny seaside town. It's become a haven for society's female misfits. Her father is an inventor, and being the absentminded sort, he essentially takes her for granted. She's his keeper IOW. His inventions are of the military sort, and his obsession has been to make a rifled cannon. They keep blowing up though and after the last time, she made him promise not to do any more field testing. He resents this.
The H - didn't actually catch an age - is recovering from a gunshot to the knee, and is determined to get back to the front line. He, his cousin, and one fellow soldier arrive to see if he can convince the h's dad to put in a word for him.
Dear old dad has machinations in mind - an excuse to test the latest prototype of the cannon, and well, he doesn't tell the H everything, and in fact, outright lies about things.
This...is the bones of the story, and it makes you want to punch the dad in the face (or at least, slap him with a glove). Because he manipulates the H, dismisses the h (really, the H/h were involved and he hands the H the approval to allow him to go back to his regimen, tells the h to get over herself or something like that). I guess in some ways, he was subconsciously trying to keep his housekeeper (the h).
And yet... at the beginning, when the H and his companions arrive, they're blocked by a flock of sheep, and they use gunpowder to run them off (a bit drastic, yes?). A lamb attaches itself to the H and becomes a pet. The blacksmith makes jewelry, the pub has become a tea shop, the women all are expert markswomen... The town has an unofficial name (amongst men in London) as Spinster Cove. There's the twin boys who remind me somewhat of Merry and Pippin. Not much out and out funny, but too tongue in cheek for the basic tale. Maybe that's the issue.