Ms. Martin has given us another solid read in her Bride trilogy, continuing with Reese, the middle Dewar brother. I actually like this book a little better than the first, though part of the story we’ve all read before but the author makes it work with her characters and the surrounding storyline.
Reese is home after being injured during his latest military stint, and it looks as though he won’t be going back for any further duty. So he’s determined to keep his promise to his father to finally make Briarwood his home as he’d intended years before – years that included Elizabeth. But she married another man and Reese hasn’t seen her since. So the first time he does run into her once home is fraught with tension and all sorts of emotion, especially hate.
Knowing she can’t ask more from Reese, especially forgiveness, Elizabeth at first hesitates to run to him when she finally realizes her life is in danger, ergo so is her son’s life if anything happens to her. He’s the next earl and has an uncle who is overly ambitious. But her son’s life is more important than her pride, her lost love, and anything else. Thus, she finds herself on Reese’s doorstep, knowing he will be honor bound to protect her and her secret.
And she’s right. Reese can’t turn her away, no matter how he feels, and he feels plenty. But he does the right thing, and you have to admire him all the more for it. He also gets to the root of the problem for both Elizabeth and her son, once he sees how they both flinch if he gets too close. Realizing there’s more to Elizabeth’s story, Reese begins to soften little by little the more he interacts with her, as well as with her son, who needs a man and a tender hand in his life.
I think that’s the biggest reason I like this book more than the first – Reese and how he handles Jared. The boy is obviously afraid of men, but Reese gets down on his level and talks to him man to man, despite his age. When Reese calls him son the first time, Jared takes that to heart and I thought my heart would break during the conversation between these two when Reese questions Jared’s calling him Papa. Lovely little scene.
Of course, Elizabeth’s secret does come out amid all the mystery and investigation of the attempts on her life, and that’s another terrific scene when Reese finally learns what she’s been hiding. Their love grows again, if it every really truly died, and I found these two characters quite charming together, trying to muck their way through a hurtful past to a bright future.
So far this trilogy has been quite rewarding. Rule, the third brother, will complete the series. He’s a bit of a rake, loves the ladies, and it will be interesting to see what Ms. Martin has in store for him.
Wounded in battle,
Major Reese Dewar returns to England –
but his damaged leg is nothing
compared to his shattered heart.
Years before, love-struck Reese departed his home at Briarwood with a promise from raven-haired Elizabeth Clemens: that she would make a life with him upon his return. But mere months later, she married the Earl of Aldridge, attaining wealth and status Reese could never match. Memories of that betrayal make his homecoming far more bitter than sweet.
Elizabeth knows when she appears on Reese’s doorstep dressed in widow’s garb that she is twisting the knife. But fear for her young son’s safety has overcome guilt and shame: she begs Reese for protection against the forces that would see the boy Earl dead to possess his fortune. The former lovers forge an uneasy alliance, but Elizabeth still harbors some deep secrets—and Reese knows that protecting her means placing himself in danger…of losing his heart all over again.
Read an excerpt. (click book cover)
Other books in this series: