We just had an election in my home state of Queensland, and the outcomes will be of some broader interest, I hope. The governing Liberal National (= conservative) Party has (almost certainly) gone down to a surprise defeat, going from 78 of 89 seats at the last election to a probable 40 or 41 this time. The key issues were broken promises (particularly regarding job cuts) and government proposals for privatisation.
This can be seen either as a reversal or a repeat of the last election when the governing Labor Party went from 51 seats to 7. That election was also fought on broken promises and privatisation, but with the roles of the parties reversed (Labor had won an election opposing privatisation, then immediately announced it would go ahead).
Among the actual or potential ramifications
- The first instance of a woman Opposition Leader defeating an incumbent government at state or national level in Australia (there have been examples in the much smaller territory governments, but I think this is the first case at State level. The more common pattern has been for a woman to get a “hospital pass” when it is clear that the government is on the way out.
- At the national level, the replacement of the current conservative prime minister Tony Abbott
- The abandonment of the biggest coal mine project in Australia
Looking internationally, the outcome can be seen as a defeat for the politics of austerity and maybe as an example to suggest that Pasokification can be reversed, under the right circumstances.
Finally, I’ll link to my analysis of the asset sales, which got a reasonably prominent run during the campaign. It probably didn’t change many minds, but it helped to counter the barrage of pro-privatisation propaganda.
Storm Song (Twister) - Twister vid! I was excited about the idea of this vid from the time I had the idea of nominating Twister, and here it is! It is exactly the vid I wanted for this source, focused on Jo (formative heroine!) and all her bristly stoicism and obsessive, intense commitment to this job, and Jo/Storms and Jo/Bill/Storms and triumphant science and it makes me feel a lot of feelings about this very old movie that I still love very much.
A Hero Comes Home (Wonder Woman) - Diana, Hippolyta and the Amazons! I love the grounding force that Hippolyta and Themyscira and the Amazons are for Diana, even as she can't stay and live that life, and this vid captures all of that so perfectly. I love the new-to-me minimalist version of this song for the tone of the vid, so quiet and contemplative and moving.
Spectrum (Wonder Woman/other DC stuff) - The DC Trinity OT3 vid I tossed out as a pipe dream, which someone made real and beyond my wildest imagination! It is so epic, as any DC Trinity vid should be, and it gives me a truly embarrassing number of feelings about this OT3. Even apart from my very earnest feelings about them as a unit, I am never over how happy it makes me to see Diana as an equal member of this heroic trio, fighting alongside Superman and Batman, being every bit as important and iconic as they are.
ETA: I did end up making two vids, even though I said I was pretty sure I'd only accomplish one. Oops. Guess them if you dare! :)
I'm also extraordinarily smug about how successful it, and the other diverse new shows are. I hope ABC's Fresh Off the Boat will do well too, because from the teasers I've seen, it looks like it gets close-ish to my immigrant experience and I'm dying to see that on TV. I'm sure the networks will take so many wrong lessons from this season's successes, but I don't even care if it leads to a slate of even more diverse programming. And by diverse, I mean diverse casts and also more diverse genres because oh my god procedurals. I'm so angry about the likes of Backstrom, which is an unclever, offensive mashup of the worst successful tropes of the "Golden Age" of TV.
And wait, I also started watching Jane the Virgin! I'm storing up episodes to marathon, but I watched the first six episodes or so, and my god, it is incredibly charming. So many great characters, and Gina Rodriguez is a delight.
Oh, and remember that list? This first one ticks off a few boxes:
✓ A book with a color in the title
✓ A book by a female author
✓ A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
✓ A graphic novel
I expect some of those are going to be ticked off a lot of times on my list. Obviously the last one is *so* done now. ;)
Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of the Plagues by Gail Simone, Walter Geovani (Illustrator), Simon Bowland (Contributor)
I've never been particularly into the barbarians and had been turned off the chicks-in-chainmail overly sexualized look of Red Sonja covers in comic books stores, but I bought some Humble Comics Bundle specifically for this book, as I've liked Gail Simone's other work.
Reading this book brings me back to that time when S decided to carry a dead cat through all of Icewind Dale. She'll know what I mean, but maybe most of you won't.
So instead I'll say that I wasn't disappointed. This book features a Red Sonja that makes her strangely reminiscent of my sister: fierce in protecting her friends, determined to see things through to the end, occasionally capricious, and also quite happy to disregard the opinions of others when they're stupid. ;) I'd never really thought of the barbarian fighter in this way except when S is playing them.
It's a fun read, both a little subversive and a tribute to the genre.
Wolverine Volume 2: Killable (Marvel Now) by Paul Cornell, Marvel Comics (Illustrator), Alan Davis (Illustrator), Mirco Pierfederici (Illustrator)
From the "Wolverine's lost his healing powers and his enemies have found out" setup you'd this this book would be an epic battlefest, but the authors actually thought about what lost powers meant not only physically and tactically but also emotionally, not only for Wolverine but also for his friends and allies. This one has some surprisingly sweet and bittersweet moments.
I have to admit, though, it wasn't vividly memorable for me and writing this review weeks later is hard.
(This may tick off "✓ A book by an author you've never read before" judging from the list they have for him on wikipedia)
X-Men by Brian Wood - Volume 1: Blank Generation by Brian Wood, David Lopez (Illustrator)
Loved the art on this one, but I felt like I'd missed too much back story to really enjoy it, which is weird since it's a "volume 1" kind of deal.
Gambit, Vol. 1: Once A Thief by James Asmus, Clay Mann (Illustrator), Diogenes Neves (Illustrator)
To be honest, I barely remember anything about this one other than the art was nice.
The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale (Pt. 1) by Lora Innes
High school drama crossed with historical romance via Very Intense Dreams. I got drawn to this one as a webcomic because of the art, but Lora Innes' sheer joy in history makes it worth sticking around for. (Also worth going to read her blog posts about the real history behind the story!)
The Dreamer webcomic has just started up again after a hiatus, but if you're going to check it out for the first time right now, go back to the beginning, because those last few comics really don't make any sense unless you know the characters.
Oh look, there's ✓ A book by a female author again!
Also, ✓ A book based on a true story, although perhaps this isn't exactly what folk mean when they say that.
Young Avengers Volume 3: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space (Marvel… by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator)
I actually kind of hated volume 2 (too much chaos not enough depth for my liking), but this pushed past the "running aimlessly through dimensions" and into the "time to turn around and fight our mind-controlled parents and save the world" point. All in all, a nice wrap-up to the story arc.
Hawkeye Volume 3: L.A. Woman (Marvel Now) by Matt Fraction, Annie Wu (Illustrator), Javier Pulido (Illustrator)
After the last volume, I'd been kind of wondering why this series had been getting so many accolades. (It's not awful, it just didn't seem as amazing as I was hearing.) But I understand now: it's not just about the Clint Barton Hawkeye, it's been the Kate Bishop hawkeye that makes the whole thing fit together and work. The comics were actually interleaved in original publishing, this book collects #14, 16, 18, 20. I understand why they collected them separately, but I think I would have enjoyed the Barton Hawkeye story so much more if I'd read it contrasted with the Bishop Hawkeye story. Kate's story is funny, clever, and so very human.
The Infernal Devices 3: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, Hyekyung Baek (Illustrator)
I think the manga adaptations of these books are kind of adorable, and this one does not disappoint. I'm not sure it'll be as meaningful without having read the novel, though.
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by Marvel Comics
After a poor experience trying to read the new X-men series as single issues (The format's a bit too short for me and I found the advertising was outright disruptive), I waited for a collected volume on this one to avoid making the same mistake. As I started hearing more and more hype, I started worrying that the book itself would never live up to the things I'd heard.
Thankfully, that wasn't my experience. The book is sweet, hitting some nerdy superhero teenager tropes I like, and playing off the non-white north american experience in a way that felt unsurprising after reading Secret Identities and getting so many comics recs off Angry Asian Man, but it's nice to see these things in such a big title. And Kamala isn't just written as a minority, where it's that part of her that defines her: she's also practical, smart, adorkable, and just enough introspective to give her sudden superheroism a depth that sometimes you don't see in the first volume of a new series.
I look forwards to more, and I guess having chickened out and gone with the library copy instead of buying it the day it came out, I may go invest in my own copy now. ;)
Black Widow & The Marvel Girls by Paul Tobin, Salva Espin (Illustrator), Jacopo Camagni (Illustrator)
This is a series of shorts about Black Widow teaming up with other women of the Marvel universe. I wasn't sold on the first tale, but the others were kind of neat looks into different depths of her character.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 1 by Shinobu Ohtaka
This inspried-by-arabian nights manga just didn't do it for me. Too many over-the-top OMG REACTION moments, too much chaos and silliness, not enough story or character. It's a genre for low-attention-span boys, though, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I suspect this one could deepen to more, but I couldn't even make it through the first volume without wanting to skim it.
Soul Eater NOT!, Vol. 1 by Atsushi Ohkubo
This one's cute: A new girl starts at a school for humans who can transform into weapons and the human "meister" (weaponmasters) who will pair up to become superheroes. I expected this to be kind of silly, but there was just enough in this to make me curious as to what happens next. I guess I have to find the next volume!
✓ A book set in high school
✓ A book with magic
The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks, Various (Illustrator)
The intro describes this as a story about being human, but also a superhero. This is exactly what gives it such charm, and Faith Erin Hicks' adorable art makes it perfect.
It also doesn't hurt that it's also very Canadian. (Why do the cats like the prime minister so much? Is a superhero qualified to work at Tim Horton's?) I think this is a book I need to own!
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ate half an apple. trying to think what to eat. i think a lot of salad and veggies maybe.
nice dinner with metaphortunate anyway!
It isn't getting any easier to get myself out of bed to go swim today. Must JFDI. But it is boring. I will try to take some mpleasure in the bus trip and the nice sunny day and swim at my own pace and not hurt myself. Wish I had someone to go with or talk with at it! my small talk is not super stoked right now. Also, my back hurts and i will not enjoy the bus.
I wonder if i could make the drive there soon.
since it is so hard to get myself up and my back is so wobbly i am not going to alterconf, giving away the tix. sad to miss this personally and also i was looking forward to sharing it with milo.
i also want some coffee so very much but it would be a bad idea for gastritis. at least i can move around. it is not to emergency bad levels. on the edge though. Must eat super conservatively, rest a lot.
tempting... just stay home and do regular PT exercises? is swimming too much?
I can't tell.
I had breakfast with Cate Huston and I told her that I was working on a blog post called “Should you build an app or a website?” She opined that perhaps mobile apps, both native and web, are better because they have constraints. When you have a small screen, you have to have a good UI. You can’t offer users every possibility, you have to make some decisions and choices for them on what they might want to do.
Cate talked about an art teacher who constrains kids to black and white charcoal, then to a drawing started to someone else and then to a drawing torn in half. They are more creative and come up with more inspired work because they have artificial constraints.
When I think about really single purpose, simple websites, I think about Google’s home page.
There’s a few apps like that too.
What do you think? What would your website look like if you knew that everyone had to look at it through a 640×320 screen and could only interact with it using touch sensitive gloves because it was raining ice chunks outside?
Let us know what you're up to this weekend and let us cheer you along .*\0/*
Wait, you hate Lego? I hate Lego too, but that's because I remember the good old days of Lego. Tell me about hating Lego, please! —starlady
OK then. (Fuckin' Lego.)
Some of this is simple childhood stuff, one of a number of things I've been saddled with because my parents parenting peculiarities included impatience — they didn't really like playing with us terribly much, I think, or at least not Lego — a desire to foster independence, and not having a lot of money. And then you combine that with my childhood perfectionism.
How this combined into Lego was: we got pretty cheap, small and boring kits. Like, "here is a small house" kind of thing. We also started getting them young, too young by a couple of years to have the fine motor skills, concentration span and executive function to build Lego. But, when you are a child perfectionist and you're, say, six (and I would have been six, because I remember what house this took place in and for much of the time I was a young child, we moved every year), you of course don't have the kind of perspective on things to think to yourself "I bet this will be fun in a couple of years when I have better fine motor skills, concentration span and executive function!" (I love the phrase 'executive function', I didn't learn it until I was about 30), you think "I suck at Lego, I can't build a house that looks just like the one on the box". And then your impatient independence-fostering parent of choice will advise you that this building stuff from the box thing is silly anyway, why not be creative?
And then you're a child perfectionist who can't make it look like it does on the box nor better than it looks on the box. Welp.
That's really my core Lego-hating experience, frankly. Lego bested me, so I don't like it. I've had some fun (that is, not-fun) trying to explain this to my husband, whose room at his parents house still contains the remnants of his twenty-ish fancy Lego sets: planes and helicopters and such, and who could always build something better than the box because he could always combine two fun kits into a helicopter fire engine (as he did for our son the last time we visited), and he also had an older sibling from whom to poach ideas.
The other part of hating Lego is that it's a really common gift for too-young kids. My son got a lot of it for his fourth birthday party a year ago. On that day, his sister was twenty three days old and people had decided to arm a distractible four year old with teeny tiny choke hazards to evenly scatter through our house? Gee thanks. In addition, he saw the pictures on the box, and he naturally wanted exactly what was on the box, so we painfully built it up for him (one kit took three adults about two hours), and then he'd play vigorously with it for about five seconds and he'd be crying because his new toy was in pieces and I'd be all "NOOOOOOOO LEGOOOOOOO." Not good.
I've actually come to terms with it a touch over the last year, as his concentration and, yes, executive function and whatnot come online a touch more and he's actually had some fun with it and can occasionally put it back together himself. But, yeah. I'm sure it's a good toy for eight to ten year olds whose parents can afford enough kits that they can afford to experiment and the result is fun. And maybe I need to come to terms, because Towers of Tomorrow is in town, and also I suspect that my husband's childhood Lego collection is moving here sooner or later.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Trollbird
Among twenty reasonable comments,
The only livid thing
Was the caw of the trollbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a blog
In which there are three trollbirds.
The trollbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a man pretending to be a woman
A man and a man pretending to be a woman and a trollbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The banality of congruent discourse
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The trollbird ROFLMFAO’ing
Or just after.
Libertarians filled the long comments section
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the trollbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Webdom,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the trollbird
Walks around the feet
Of the earnest among you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the trollbird is involved
In what I know.
When the trollbird was banned,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of trollbirds
Remarking in a green mood,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
Wieseltier rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The book has four-and-a-half stars.
The trollbird will be flying soon.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The trollbird signed on
With a fresh user-name.
One real advantage of the Roman numeral system is that, like in the old Prison joke, when we see a new troll, we can just call out ‘XII’, or whatever. And everyone will immediately be able to savor the standardized, exquisite aspect.
Back to fear - this piece by Skud includes a bit of a horror story -- bad or missing code review led to a bad deploy which led a volunteer to drop out entirely, partly due to fear of messing up again. And here's a story where paranoia by management led to the firm going out of business.
....So the distinction de Becker makes [in The Gift of Fear] is that fear is your subconscious telling you about a genuine threat, because your intuition has put together the facts faster than your conscious self has -- whereas anxiety comes from the messages on the 10 o'clock news, racism, etc. Fear is a friend and anxiety is an interloper. If I were to use that framing, I would say that one characteristic of a mature programmer would be: she has a healthy sense of fear, and the reflex to mitigate scary risks ("we need to put this into version control NOW"), but she has control over anxiety ("people say C is hard to learn, maybe I'm not smart enough").
On choosing your own learning path:
I think you might like this reflective post by Ben Rosenbaum on "the moment in which I actually started to determine my education." (And a few current thoughts, by Indian students speaking to other Indians, that by implication say a lot about breaking expectations.) I try to be conscious of how others explicitly and implicitly guided me into certain achievement paths and avoid doing that with others, avoid making assumptions (so, for instance, I have retrained myself to avoid asking, "where did you go to college?").
I agree with Philip Guo so thoroughly, especially about the demoralizing effect of the gulf of execution, and that a leader should reduce the incidental complexity that slows down the people she's serving.
....As a card-carrying fan of Neal Stephenson's "How to Win Friends and Influence People^H^H^H^H^H^H^H In The Beginning Was The Command Line", and of [readings] on the usage and philosophy of Unix concentrating on the command line, I do not consider the command line bullshit. But Philip's right to consider the specifics of *getting research software installed and set up* as incidental complexity in the context of his students' substantive work. And that process takes place on the command line. It's like me calling the process of getting across town in Manhattan "L train bullshit"; it is good that the L train exists but arrrrgh.
On better ways to ask and answer code-related questions online (and the concept of a "yak trace," understanding the series of steps a person has taken to make something or debug a problem):
basically I think a yak trace emerges most easily in conversation with a generous interlocutor, whereas many fora online where people ask for help would prefer that help-requesters' initial speech act be delivered with the concision and throughput of a paramedic running alongside a gurney
....In my experience *building even the faintest of relationships* with the asker/user makes it a million times easier to ask the question. In IRC, for example, I've had tremendous success by *starting off saying* (roughly) "Hi [person's nickname]! I'm Sumana, [thing I do] and I live in NYC. Good to meet you, although sorry for the circumstances :/" [wait for reciprocation; most people will reciprocate by giving their name at least] "That problem sounds frustrating. Do you mind if I ask a couple diagnostic questions?" Now we are people together and not just Supplicant and Expert, and I can ask about the environment, and I can say something like "the approach you're using is sort of unusual so I want to check whether you're accidentally making it harder for yourself and there's an easier way to get the functionality you want :) " (although I can't remember the last time I had to literally explicitly say that; usually by this point they are open to talking about their process, their macro goal, etc.).
IMO the affordances of a lot of online tech-help-seeking spaces discourage this kind of necessary trust-building conversation.
In longer-term dev scenarios, understanding the user's underlying goals is a task that product managers and user experience designers have a lot of tools to do. Qualitative interviews. Ethnography. Market research. Looking at traffic stats and discovering/making funnels. IMO Val's insight about what the application developers really wanted was a user experience insight (some folks call it DX, Developer Experience, for stuff like this).
The API usability chapter in Greg Wilson's and Andy Oram's Making Software influenced my thinking thoroughly on this stuff.
Words, other than proper nouns and HTML, in this post that my in-browser spellchecker dislikes: bullshittery, arrrrgh, gurney, IRC, etc., IMO, affordances, tech-help-seeking, dev, stats, DX, API.
A common set of questions that come up on IRC around node web services revolve around how to do MVC “right” using tools like express.
The short answer: Don’t.
A little history. “MVC” is an abbreviation for “Model, View, Controller”. It’s a particular way to break up the responsibilities of parts of a graphical user interface application. One of the prototypical examples is a CAD application: models are the objects being drawn, in the abstract: models of mechanical parts, architectural elevations, whatever the subject of the particular application and use is. The “Views” are windows, rendering a particular view of that object. There might be several views of a three-dimensional part from different angles while the user is working. What’s left is the controller, which is a central place to collect actions the user is performing: key input, the mouse clicks, commands entered.
The responsibility goes something like “controller updates model, model signals that it’s been updated, view re-renders”.
This leaves the model relatively unencumbered by the design of whatever system it’s being displayed on, and lets the part of the software revolving around the concepts the model involves stay relatively pure in that domain. Measurements of parts in millimeters, not pixels; cylinders and cogs, rather than lines and z-buffers for display.
The View stays unidirectional: it gets the signal to update, it reads the state from the model and displays the updated view.
The controller even is pretty disciplined and takes input and makes it into definite commands and updates to the models.
Now if you’re wondering how this fits into a web server, you’re probably wondering the same thing I wondered for a long time. The pattern doesn’t fit.
On the web, we end up with a pipeline something like “Browser sends request to server, server picks a handler, handler reads request and does actions, result of those actions is presented to a template or presentation layer, which transforms it into something that can be sent, which goes out as a response to the browser.”
It still makes sense to separate out the meat of the application from the specifics of how it’s being displayed and interfaced to the world, often, especially if the application manipulates objects that are distinctly separate. A example might be that an accounts ledger makes no sense to bind the web portions to the data model particularly tightly. That same ledger might be used to generate emails, to generate print-outs, and later to generate reports in a completely different system. The concept of a “model” or a “business domain logic” layer to an application makes sense:
But some time in the mid-2000s, someone thought to try to shoehorn the MVC concept into this pipeline, and did so by renaming these components:
And this is why we end up with relatively well-defined models, since that makes sense, and ‘views’ are a less-descriptive name for templating and presentation logic. What’s left ends up being called a ‘controller’ and we start a lot of arguments about whether a given bit of logic belongs there or in the model.
So in express, let’s refer to models and domain logic, to handlers and to templates. We’ll have an easier time of it.
Handlers accept web-shaped data: query strings and post data, and shape them into something the business logic can deal with. When the business logic emits something we should display, that same handler can pass it off to templates, or in the case of data being rendered in the browser by a client there, serialized directly as json and sent off as the response. Let the business logic know little about the web, unless its concern is the web as in a content management sytem. Let our handlers adapt the HTTP interface to the business logic, and the responses out to our presentation layer, even if that’s as simple as filling in values in a template.
We’ll all be a lot happier if MVC keeps its meaning as a paradigm for breaking up responsibility within a GUI.
Create a new post
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I had a suite of functional tests written in Selenium 2 using the SE Builder plugin for Firefox. We had wanted to get them running in our continuous integration environment.
We've found that the path to running Selenium Builder tests in Jenkins is not clear. There's a Jenkins plugin, but we try to run it and it fails, tersely.
I didn't want to convert the tests (which are written in JSON) to JUnit, because of overhead. So I needed to down-convert the tests to Selenium 1, and save to HTML so I could run them on Jenkins. This is not ideal, but until I get some more information from Sauce Labs and the Jenkins' plug-in's author, we'll do things the olde way.
There are several commands in Selenium 2 without Selenium 1 equivalents. Most of our tests call commands like storeElementAttribute, to stash attributes for comparison.
The quick replacement for storeElementAttribute (in Selenium 1's HTML format) is:
<tr> <td>storeEval</td> <td>window.document.querySelector('meta[name="og:title"]').content;</td> <td>title</td> </tr>
The Heiress Effect (The Brothers Sinister), by Courtney Milan. Heiress Jane Fairfield has tons of money and suitors, but is determined not to marry; in my very favorite part of the book, she fends off her suitors with a combination of social obnoxiousness and spectacularly hideous dresses. Her sister Emily is shut in by her guardian due to epilepsy, but sneaks out and meets a sweet Indian law student.
A very enjoyable romance distinguished by excellent characterization, including of the minor characters, plenty of comedy, and good banter. I liked all the characters individually, but the heroines were much more interesting to me than the heroes, so this worked better for me as a novel than as a romance. It's the second in a series, but I accidentally read it first.
Look elsewhere for historical accuracy, though Milan does often use snippets of actual history: the hideous dye which plays a role in the story actually was a recent invention. Anjan could have been doing what he was doing in England at that time, but I don't think everyone would have been anywhere near as accepting of his romance with an English woman. The discussion of colonialism, the rights of disabled people and women, and other social issues are all important and true, but also a bit anvillicious. That being said, in terms of the actual portrayal of people with disabilities, both mental and physical, Milan is outstanding.
The Other Side of Us , by Sarah Mayberry. A woman filmmaker still recovering from disabling car crash injuries moves in next door to a man with an adorable dog. She too has an adorable dog! It must be fate. I liked the realistic treatment of her disabilities, but there were too many stupid misunderstandings for my taste.
Summer Campaign, by Carla Kelly. Genuinely heartwarming romance between Major Jack Hamilton, just returned from years at war and struggling with PTSD, and the bizarrely named Miss Onyx Hamilton, who is illegitimate and so considered lucky to marry anyone, let alone the vicar whom she doesn't love. (The name is explained, but still.) She is set upon by highwaymen! He is shot rescuing her! She does such a good job nursing him that he asks her to come nurse his dying brother. And their relationship slowly blossoms.
The social situation probably isn't historically accurate, but the medical details are. The characters' emotions and the slow growth of intimacy and love are very realistic and believable. If you're tired of insta-love and relationships driven by lust, this is the book for you. Kelly is one of the few romance writers who has heroes who are not particularly handsome, out of shape, etc. Her characters are ordinary people who value each other for their personality and kindness.