The Spanish Bride is one of the few books Heyer wrote that is fictionalised biography, rather than historical fiction. It was published in 1940, roughly forty years after the posthumous publication of the autobiography which she discovered while researching An Infamous Army and steeping herself in Wellington’s letters and despatches as well as the writings of Peninsula and Waterloo veterans. I came across it in a library many years ago and was fascinated to see how she drew on these, and the autobiography in particular for her own work.
Harry was not quite twenty-eight at Waterloo. The two volumes of the autobiography continue the story of his military career in Ireland, Nova Scotia, South Africa and India. Where possible, Juana accompanied him on his new assignments (the city of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is called after her) and they remained a devoted couple until his death, and beyond. She cherished his memory until her own death twelve years later and is buried with him in his birthplace of Whittlesey.
Both volumes are illustrated with portraits and maps. The arms granted to Harry in 1846 are embossed in gold on the red cover (see image below). The circle between the two birds in the upper section is the Waterloo Medal. The two supporters are soldiers of the 52nd Regiment and the Rifle Brigade. The motto is Inter Milites Miles (A Soldier among Soldiers).
Although cheaper reprints are available, there is something special about such a splendid edition and I look forward to re-reading it. It is a wonderful addition to my library and I was delighted to find this contemporary review of it which shows how well it was received on publication.