I really enjoyed an Agatha Christie book I just read (so admittedly, not a romance) in which the girl, engaged to be married to a rather staid, boring farmer, finds herself intrigued by the new, slightly dangerous stranger. The interactions with the stranger are all fairly typical romance-novel fare. Her mother secretly borrows money from his sister, and he taunts the heroine about it. She's horribly embarrassed and desperately tries to get money (from boring farmer) to pay him back, because it feels like borrowing money from him. Etc. They fight constantly, but are both intrigued by each other. There are all these hints about her not being able to settle down to a boring regular life, after having been in the service during the war.
And then, at the end, she realizes that it's the farmer she wants after all. Furthermore, the stranger, while he doesn't turn out to be the original murderer, does turn out to be a piece of scum who murders somebody else and has been lying all along. It's such a novel twist on what you expect from a romance novel (the girl with a boring engagement falling in love with the guy who simultaneously annoys and intrigues her and who she always fights with).
Taken at the Flood! This is one of my favorite Agatha Christies
The only thing I really don't like is the heroine's choice at the end....
The tv film version of the story with David Suchet changes it slightly, so she decides she's actually far happier going back to what she was doing before (nursing in Africa) and was only engaged because she felt it was expected of her. Much more preferable!
I will have to go look for that version- the book ending annoyed me because the farmer was really kind of jerky too.
Yes, I will admit I left out a crucial detail about the farmer because I thought that part somewhat questionable (and also harping back to *another* romantic stereotype). Honestly, I really liked the farmer up until that point! Oh, well.
I like the idea of her going back to nursing in Africa. In the book, that didn't seem to be an option (she was specifically working during the War, and I wouldn't have thought of opportunities being available to go back to it). I bet she'd do great as a medical missionary in a foreign country, though. She'd get a bit of the settled life she's longed for, but also the excitement/adventure of roughing it, a potentially dangerous mission field, etc. I'd love to see the David Suchet version. I was enjoying watching them on Amazon Prime, then they all wen pay-per-episode.
BTW, got a little desperate for more Agatha Christies (read them all a zillion times), so I asked my library about novelist recommendations of similar authors. I am becoming addicted to John Dickson Carr. It's too bad his books are a lot harder to find than Christie's! But they're really, really good.