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Monday, February 18, 2019

Review: The Wayward Bride (Besotted Scots, #1) by Anna Bradley



Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Zebra (February 26, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: In only six weeks, Isla Ramsey is due to marry Henry Northrup, the sixth Earl of Sydney. But she remains haunted by memories of the dashing Hugh Courtney, the Marquess Pierce. The handsome aristocrat had hinted at forever and then tossed her aside, leaving Isla with few viable options. Now, as she awaits her new fiancé's arrival from London, she rides her horse past Hugh's estate at Hazelwood every day, pining for a man who was never truly hers.

Hugh Courtney may have left Isla's life, but he can't erase her from his thoughts. When he rescues her from a sudden snowstorm, they are forced to take shelter together at his private estate. In such close quarters there is no escaping each other. Yet no man wants a reckless wife—or a woman promised to another. As fate draws Isla further into his world, Hugh vows to keep her out of his bedchamber. However, some vows are meant to be broken.

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin this novel by pointing out the fact that while there are multiple romances mentioned, there is a secondary main romance written into this story and well, it may not be everyone's cup of tea. The secondary romance (which to be honest I happened to adore just a bit more than the main romance) is a homosexual relationship - which may be why it was not written into the blurb. I feel like its a bit dishonest in a way, but I can see how it also may have been considered a spoiler as well.

So let's focus on the different romances, and why they worked (or didn't work). To begin with let's focus on the ones that were mentioned, but that didn't feature heavily within the story.

Henry and Isla were betrothed in order to protect both their reputations. Yes, Isla would benefit in the immediate sense, but Henry was hiding a secret of his own. I adored their friendship and the way they understood each other. And while it was obvious that their marriage would have some obvious complications, it would have been interesting to see how they managed. 

Hugh and Julianna are also betrothed, and again, by no want or desire of their own. Their betrothal comes from the fact that Hugh's sister and her husband are both dead, and Julianna's father has custody of Hugh's niece Grace. It is her father that pushes the marriage on them as a condition for allowing them to have Grace in their lives. I will admit that while I thought this particular pairing didn't have enough time to "shine", I will admit to being curious about Julianna and the Duke she has supposedly come to an understanding with. For all her words, and her release of Hugh from their betrothal, her actions once she closed the door make me think there is a lot more to her story than what she said. 

Now we can move on to the main romances. The first being the one between Hugh and Isla. Theirs is the kind of romance that frankly, is overdone and annoying. They had passion. They had chemistry. And they could have found their HAE a lot sooner if Hugh had only allowed Isla the chance to explain. Yes, I understand he was hurt and angry, but I'm so tired of these romances where people who are supposedly so in love with another person can just casually toss them aside without ever getting their side of the story, only to declare themselves later. I did enjoy watching these two as they were forced together and tried everything to get over their attachment to the other, but I wish they had just been open and honest with each other from the start. 

Finally we come to the romance between Henry and Lucas. The unexpected romance that managed to steal the show. Henry is nearly always smiling and able to look for the positive. He brings the best out in everyone. Lucas is more of the steadfast, serious type. As they call themselves they are the earl and the farmer. Their relationship is definitely not the kind you expect to see in a historical novel. And honestly, their romance is definitely thought of in more "modern" ways than I would have thought would have been acceptable given the time period. In fact, I would definitely be interested in reading more about them - how they managed to overcome the obstacles that would have no doubt been thrust upon them just for being in love with each other.

I think when you look at this story as a whole, the different romance work to enhance the experience. Overall, this is a well written novel that while it touches on characters from prior series' (some moreso than others) this story will appeal to those who enjoy historical romance. I would read more from this author!

DISCLAIMERI received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                        The Wayward Bride is available from Amazon.com

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