This is my first time reading a Cathy Maxwell book and thus I had no idea what to expect. I did begin it disappointed with the last romance I read, which had a few similarities to Lyon’s Bride. Namely, both feature a widow falling in love with a man she has a past with. Aside from that, the two books are very different. At first it’s a good difference, because Lyon’s Bride has more conflict.
Thea Martin has fallen a long way since she was friends with Neal Chattan, Lord Lyon. She married a man her father did not approve of and was subsequently disowned. Now a widow with two sons, one old enough to begin school, she’s been using her knowledge of the ton as a matchmaker in order to make ends meet. She’s a practical woman, and still proud, but willing to bend if that’s what is needed to provide for her children.
Neal Chattan and his siblings Harry and Margaret were raised in a cold, unaffectionate home. When Neal grew to close to Thea as a young teenager, the two were separated and the Chattan Curse was explained to Neal. All Chattan males are doomed to die soon after falling in love. He and his siblings decide to never marry and to let the line end with them. But as Neal grows older, he desires children and decides to marry an appropriate woman who he’ll never fall in love with. Thus, he needs the services of a matchmaker.
When Thea and Neal meet, they clearly have the potential for romance. But Thea is skeptical of the curse and dislikes how much power the Chattans let it have over their lives. Neal isn’t looking to marry a disowned duke’s daughter with whom he feels friendship. (He’s also not all that in tune with his emotions due to his childhood.) And Harry and Margaret would love for the two to stay far away from each other. But, of course, they eventually give in to the sexual tension.
Once Thea and Neal become involved, the book loses a bit of steam. There’s no real obstacles to them falling in love and declaring it at that point. Maxwell attempts to separate Thea and Neal, but it doesn’t last long and it seems too late to separate them anyway. The only thing left for the story is for Neal to begin to suffer the curse’s effects.
In a way, I appreciate Maxwell’s boldness. Romance series are rarely true series, merely a group of romances that share characters and setting but can be read entirely independently. When Lyon’s Bride ends, Neal is not yet saved. His brother must attempt to rescue him in The Scottish Witch. I do not mind not getting a 100% happy ending. I do mind that at the end of Lyon’s Bride the characters have nothing to do but sit around waiting for the next book to happen.
“When a Chattan male falls in love, strike his heart with fire from above…”
They call him Lord Lyon, proud, determined— and cursed. He is in need of a bride, but if he falls in love, he dies. His fervent hope is that by marrying— and having a son—without love, perhaps he can break the curse’s chains forever.
Enter beautiful Thea Martin—a duke’s headstrong, errant daughter and society’s most brilliant matchmaker. Years ago, she and Lyon were inseparable, until he disappeared from her life without a word. Now she is charged with finding Lyon’s bride—a woman he cannot love for a man Thea could love too well.
Read an excerpt here.
Other books in this series:
The Scottish Witch – October 30, 2012