by Cathy Maxwell
Series: The Brides of Wishmore #1
Published by: HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Romance
New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell returns with a delicious new series, The Brides of WishmoreWhat happens when a bride says no? He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar.What happens when the heart says yes? He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass.And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?
The Bride Says No is the first book in the Brides of Wishmore series by Cathy Maxwell. I have read a few of Maxwell’s earlier works and enjoyed them. The Bride Says No is the story of two sisters and while it visits some familiar tropes I consumed this in a single afternoon and rather enjoyed the escape. Mini review: a heartwarming forbidden romance, with growth, love and lessons set against a small Scotland village during the Regency Era.
The Bride Says No takes place in the Scotland village of Loch Tay and features two sisters. When Lady Aileen comes of age their father, a drinker and gambler brings her to London to arrange a marriage to fill his coffers. Filled with hope of love and happy days Lady Aileen soon finds herself divorced and disgraced. She is now living in Loch Tay. Her younger sister Tara is in London and will wed, Blake Stephens, the bastard son of a Duke. Imagine Aileen’s surprise when Tara shows up at home declaring she doesn’t want to marry him. Her father and the rejected groom soon appear and let’s just say the countryside is no longer quiet. Aileen finds herself attracted to her sister’s betrothed, Tara is interesting in someone else, and their father only cares about lining his pockets….oh the game is afoot.
Maxwell has given us a hero and heroine to adore. Both have seen hardship and overcome making them independent. They both believe love is a thing best kept in fairy tales. Aileen is strong, kind, protective, and her story will touch you. Blake known as the Bastard by those of the ton is wedding because his father expects him to, and Tara’s good breeding will help secure his place in society. Blake is a strong character and a self-made businessman. He has overcome adversity and yet he isn’t jaded but honorable and sensitive to others. Tara is at times exactly how you would expect the baby of the family to act. She is beautiful, a romantic and perhaps a little naïve and selfish. Of all of the characters, she undergoes the most growth and my feelings for her changed as she transformed. Their father is a jackanapes and all the worst attributes of men in this period he possesses. Villagers and other side characters add to the storyline. Even Blake’s valet was an interesting character who made me giggle.
The Bride Says No embraces a few tropes including arrangements, forbidden romance and the auctioning off daughter bit, but Maxwell made them her own. She gave me characters that I could connect with as she added obstacles towards our HEA. The romance was sweet, maybe a little fast, but she made it feel genuine, and the romantic gestures were sweet. The delicate balance between love and sisterhood was addressed making me comfortable and accepting in a situation that might otherwise have made me throw my shoe in their general direction. We see how the towns dynamics work, and deal with two complicated romances and five hearts. The tale wrapped up nicely and even had a few giggles. There is an epilogue which set the stage for book two and left me anxious.
Fans of fast-paced regency romances set in the Scottish countryside will enjoy The Bride Says No. The next book, The Bride Says Maybe will release February 25, 2014 and the final book, The Groom Says Yes will release in September. I look forward to reading them.
Three and half cups of coffee out of five
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