Friday, April 26, 2019
Review -- The Wayward Bride
The Wayward Bride
by Anna Bradley
Besotted Scots - Book 1
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
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 . . .
I've been enjoying Anna Bradley's books since her debut and after getting to know Isla and her brothers in More or Less a Temptress (the third book in Bradley's Somerset Sisters trilogy) I was eagerly anticipating this story. I'm happy to say it did not disappoint!
This is one of the most emotional and angst-laden stories Bradley has penned and I loved every heart-tugging step of the journey. Her characters are multi-layered and complex, with baggage and past trauma throwing seemingly insurmountable hurdles in the way of love. Halfway through the journey, I had no idea how she would resolve everything in the end but, of course, she did and left me sighing with satisfaction. There is one loose character thread left dangling but I'm hopeful that will be tied up in another happy ending in a future book.
While The Wayward Bride is primarily the story of Isla and Hugh's journey to love, and I enjoyed their journey immensely, there is a secondary male/male romance that, for me, almost steals the book. The physical expressions of love between these two are limited to a few very mild scenes but the emotional connection that deepens into an enduring love is so sweet, so romantic, and so genuine that it made my heart sing. And yes, both couples caused me to shed happy tears.
The Wayward Bride launches a new series for Bradley and can stand on its own but I do think readers will have a deeper understanding of these characters and the challenges they face if they first read More or Less a Temptress.