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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review - - The Autumn Bride

The Autumn Bride
Chance Sisters - Book One
By Anne Gracie
Publisher:  Berkley
Release Date:  February 5, 2013




Orphanage to governess to thief is not the typical path to everlasting love but Abigail Chantry is not your typical historical romance heroine.  Abby loves her governess position and the children in her charge but puts it all at risk when she learns that her innocent younger sister has been kidnapped and is being held in a London brothel.   Abby rescues her sister who refuses to leave without another young woman, also kidnapped, and the abused maid who engineers their escape, earning them all a dangerous enemy in the process.  Sacked from her governess position for bringing the young women into her employer's home, Abby uses her meager savings to rent lodgings for the four but funds quickly dwindle and when her sister becomes desperately ill, Abby has no choice but to turn to thievery.  She enters an upper window of a nearby mansion, which she believes to be unoccupied, looking for something that will give her enough money to pay a doctor for her sister.  What she finds is an elderly woman in much worse straits than Abby could imagine.

Lady Beatrice Davenham is being horribly neglected and taken advantage of by her scurrilous staff.  Her only relative, her nephew, is in India and she has been isolated (by her staff) from any friends who would come to her aid.  Abby cannot turn her back on this lady who shows her kindness and, when Lady Beatrice hears Abby's story of how she came to be in her situation, she invites Abby, Jane, Damaris and Daisy to live with her.  The four young women, now known as the Chance sisters, Lady Beatrice's nieces from the country, move in, fire the staff and set about restoring the feisty Lady Beatrice to health and setting the house to rights.  Everything is going swimmingly until the day he comes home.

Max Davenham was not yet twenty when he inherited his title and discovered the damage his uncle had wrought on the family fortune.  Unwilling to allow his beloved aunt to discover that her husband had left her penniless, Max struck a deal with a wealthy manufacturing mentor:  business advice and a loan to be repaid in ten years plus a promise that sealed Max's fate...for life.  Over the past nine years, Max and his partners have built a successful import business in India, the loan has been repaid in full but the promise hangs heavy on his mind.  When an alarming letter from one of his aunt's friends arrives, Max knows it's time to return to London; to free his aunt from the people taking advantage of her and to fulfill the promise he made to the man who saved his family all those years ago.  Only trouble is, the people he thinks are taking advantage are actually her rescuers and the "leader" of this feminine gang is pushing all of his buttons; buttons he can't afford to have pushed because honor demands that nothing can come of his growing attraction to Abby.  Or can it?

Anne Gracie is a master of family dynamics, whether the families in question are those of blood or choice.  In The Autumn Bride she brings us an appealing blend of both with all the love, heartache, mischief and joy inherent in such relationships.  Of course, there's plenty of Gracie humor in this story as well.  The scenes where Lady Beatrice explains the family connection between the "nieces" and herself are some of the funniest I've read, with Lady Beatrice's "creativity" and Max's reaction especially humorous.  

I fell in love with these characters from the beginning of the book.  By the final page, they had ceased to be simply characters in a story and had become family of the heart; people about whom I care; one more family created by Ms. Gracie.  Not just the main characters but the rich cast of secondary characters as well.  I'm now fully invested in their happiness and the assurance that Anne Gracie will do her best to bring us the happy-ever-after endings that they each deserve.

Witty banter, humor, heartfelt emotion and heartwarming romance make this well-paced book from Anne Gracie another for the keeper shelf.  Don't miss The Autumn Bride.  I highly recommend it.

~PJ

19 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to this one!

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Di! I think it's one of Gracie's best and that's saying something considering I have all of her books on my keeper shelf. :)

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  2. I've been hearing good things about this story and I see you agree - thanks for the review!

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    1. You're welcome, catslady! Hope you enjoy the book.

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  3. I have been wanting to read this one!

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    1. It's so good! I really loved the characters and am already looking ahead to book #2.

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  4. I just got this from the library & it is on my TBR for next week! It sounds really good!

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    1. Let me know what you think of it, Sharlene!

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  5. Awesome Review!!! I have been debating whether or not to read this but after reading your review I think I am going to buy it NOW!!! LOL I haven't had a chance to read this author, but I am all for finding new, fun and creative that spin a wondrous tale!!!

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    1. I haven't had a chance to read this author

      I hope you enjoy the book! Gracie is one of my favorite authors and has a wonderful back list that will give you many hours of reading pleasure. :)

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    1. It sure was my kind of story! :) Hope you enjoy it, Laurie!

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  7. Wow, PJ! What a wonderful review! This book has been on my TBB list for about 8 or 10 days, but your review has clinched my decision to get it ASAP. Anne Gracie has fun and witty romances and TAB sounds fantabulous!

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    1. Hope you like it, Deb. I think it's one of Gracie's best.

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  8. Great review, PJ! I loved this book and am eager to read the stories of the other Chance sisters.

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    1. Thanks, Janga! And thank you, again, for introducing me to Anne Gracie's books all those years ago!

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  9. I have heard wonderful things about this book. I checked her book list and don't think I have read any except maybe a story in an older anthology. I am certainly missing out on an author who seems to write just the type of characters and stories I like.

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    1. You are!! I have loved every single one of them! I always finish her books wondering what happens to the characters next, because I know them all personally and it is if they do have a life after the final page - tantalising! You are lucky to be about to embark on the Anne Gracie adventure!

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  10. Have most of Anne's books just reread the Perfect series waiting for Autumn Bride to arrive, which it did on the 18th will start reading it on the evening of the 20th looking forward to a great new series from a grand Aussie Author I look forward to meeting Anne and her friends at the RWA in August at Fremantle

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