The Bad Luck Bride
By Janna MacGregor
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Reviewed by PJ
Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancée in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper...
Orphaned at a young age, Claire has been raised by her beloved aunt and uncle, along with cousins she views more as siblings but she feels the loss of her parents keenly and her deepest wish has always been to create a family of her own. She was deeply in love with her first fiancé but he died before they could marry. By the time she becomes engaged to Lord Paul, the ton's whispers that Lady Claire must be cursed have turned to shouts and Claire has long since given up on love. After a history like that, when Alex steps in to rescue her from broken engagement #4, I could fully understand her reticence and when her heart becomes engaged, her fear. I found Claire to be a fascinating and complex woman; a blend of admirable strength and heart-wrenching vulnerability, impacted by the horrific events surrounding her parents' deaths in ways she's unable to share or move beyond.
Alex is a typical man of the times: arrogant, single-minded, and certain that his way is the right way. His heart is in the right place when he sets out to avenge his sister but he goes about it in the wrong way and realizes almost immediately that he's put an innocent person in the middle of the fray. Unfortunately, that innate arrogance keeps him from fixing things until the damage is done. While there were several instances when I wanted to toss him off a cliff or whop him upside the head with a frying pan and yell "What have you done?," I found myself unwilling to give up on him. MacGregor gives him a worthy black moment and deliciously good groveling (he deserves it) before his happiness can be achieved.
This is Janna MacGregor's debut and the author shows great promise. As the first book of a new series, this story has many characters and the beginnings of what will likely be future storylines. At times it felt a bit cluttered but that is often the case with a first book. Alex and Claire are complex characters with immediate chemistry and plenty of sizzle in the bedroom, but both have some growing to do before enough trust is built between them to forge a lasting relationship. The secondary characters add flavor to the journey and I'm looking forward to what MacGregor has in store for some of them. I'm especially intrigued by Lord Paul, the villain of this book. He reminds me a bit of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas' Devil in Winter in that his actions are inexcusable but glimpses of inner pain - and goodness - make me believe he might be redeemable. Time will tell.
If you're looking for a light, frolicking romance, this may not be the right book for you but if you want to sink your teeth into a meaty story, with twists and turns, great depth of emotion, and a happy ending that is worth the heartache it takes our hero and heroine to achieve then I encourage you to give The Bad Luck Bride a try. I've already marked my calendar for book #2, The Bride Who Got Lucky, scheduled to be released October 31st.
I just discovered a print copy of The Bad Luck Bride in the the giveaways I brought home from the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation event last weekend. It's going to one randomly chosen person who leaves comment before 11:00 PM (EST), May 3, 2017. (U.S./Canada only)