Sunfire Romance Novels
In the 80s, the world was lit by Sunfire!

Marilee Quick Notes

Sunfire #9 is Marilee by Mary Francis Shura.

Marilee Front Cover (Credit: York)

Marilee stands out in that there are three fully eligible suitors instead of just two. All three are friends of Marilee’s brother, which helps establish Marilee’s (sometimes misguided) trust in each.

Front Cover Blurb: One man will love her, one protect her, one understand her. Whom will she choose?

Back Cover Blurb: From the calm of England to the wilds of the new colony, Marilee is torn between three loves…

Main Character: Marilee Fordham, 16 years old; curly auburn hair, hazel eyes; immigrates to the Virginia Colony from London to live with her older brother, Matthew, and his wife, Abigail, who she’s never met.

Suitor #1: Philip Soames, sailor on the ship that brings Marilee to America and both Fordhams’ legal representative in London; sandy brown hair and dark brown eyes, mid-20s.

Suitor #2: Michael Braden, extremely light blond wavy hair, around 20. A landowner and noted gambler. Has a mysterious past that involves Philip.

Suitor #3: Timothy Reeves, curly dark hair and smokey gray eyes; indentured servant to Matthew Fordham; knew Marilee when she was a child.

Setting: Jamestown, Virginia, 1622.

Front cover: Middle, Marilee, looking like an ancestor of Jennifer Grey; left, Michael; right…I’m thinking Timothy. Could be Philip, but I’m assuming they’d show Timothy on the cover. Bottom, Marilee holding a rifle, which doesn’t really happen. Sure, Deborah hands Marilee a gun during the attack and tells her to load it, but Marilee doesn’t know how, so I can’t imagine she knows how to shoot, either.

Back Cover: Marilee caring for wounded men inside the fort. They don’t look very wounded, though, and there’s only two.

Marilee Back Cover

If you’re a fan of books where villains get their just desserts instead of being reformed and becoming the heroine’s best friend, this is the book for you. We’ve really got three villains going on here. The most notable, of course, is Marilee’s ka-RAY-zee crackers sister-in-law, Abigail. Abigail is jealous, manipulative, man-hungry, lazy, just plain evil, and possibly bi-polar. Sure, we know she puts on good shows for the menfolk, but there’s also that morning she wakes up singing and is super-nice to Marilee. So I’m thinking modern meds could have done ol’ Abs a world of good. However, as things stand, she hates poor Marilee sight unseen because she doesn’t want to share her husband with his sister. She goes cuckoo bananas when the male family friends pay attention to Marilee. She even turns Marilee’s brother and her childhood nurse, Hannah, against her.

Hannah is the second of the three villains. She’s got issues before she even hooks up with Abigail, but Abigail does a good job of working those weaknesses to her advantage. I don’t think Hannah actually meant Marilee harm in the beginning, but being petted and comforted by Abby was just too good a situation for her. (Too good to be true, as it turns out!) Hannah begging Marilee to “save her” from Abigail at the end still cracks me up to this day.

The final villain is one of the three suitors, who does a marvelous job of stabbing Marilee in the back. I’m still not sure why he didn’t take a chance and ask Marilee to marry him before doing what he did, even with Mare in mourning. If he was remotely paying attention, he would have realized that at that point in the book, she would have jumped through fire to get out of Abigail’s house. Did Marilee not have quite the amount of funds as the merry widow? Did he figure he’d just have his cake and eat it too?

I can’t wait to write a recap of this book. There’s a lot of layers going on in it, and Marilee herself is just the focal point.


4 Responses to “Marilee Quick Notes”

  1. I just finished rereading this one (you’ve “inspired” me to dig these back out…). Oh my, are you spot on in regards to Abigail. Totally bipolar! This one is one of my favorites…

  2. Thanks for your comment! Marilee is one of the books that seems to not only stand the test of time, but even get better with age!

  3. One thing I always wondered is if I am pronouncing her name right in my head as I am reading. There are references in the story to her even tempered happy nature so in my youth I always pronounced her name Merrily (like Merrily we roll along) but as I look at it it looks like Mary Lee to me. Any thoughts?

  4. This is probably my favorite of the thick sunfires… I wanted her to chose Phillip but I guess she left him for me lol and I love her dog and her best friend, just a lot of nice moments in the story and not just a romance.

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