Stevie‘s review of How to Lose a Bride in One Night (Forgotten Princesses, Book 3) by Sophie Jordan
Historical Romance published by Avon 30 Jul 13
This book narrowly avoided getting my first F here at The Pond, by virtue of the villain’s name amusing me, along with the fact that it didn’t actually make me cross. Confused, yes. Almost a DNF, yes. Cross, no. So it scrapes a D.
This is the third full-length novel in a series that spun off from another series; however, it pretty much stands alone, other than a few characters floating around in the first chapter or so, who all seem to have had their own stories already, along with some backstory for the heroine that’s pretty much explained in this book to my satisfaction. Annalise grew up poor, became a seamstress and then was rescued by the father she knew nothing about, who is incredibly rich and determined to marry off all four of his illegitimate daughters (scattered around the country with their various mothers) to prestigious husbands – Annalise being the last of the group to wed, apparently.
I really can’t get a hold on when this book is supposed to be set – somewhere in the Long Regency, I assume – and I am horrifically confused by the characters’ names; Annalise has half-sisters called Cleo, Marguerite and Grier; the hero, a Scottish Earl (inexplicably the younger brother of an English Earl – how did that happen?), is called Owen (but no mention is made of him having any Welsh relatives to go with the English and Scottish ones); the hero’s brother is called Jamie (fair enough) and is married to Paget (you what?), who used to be in love with Owen. On the other hand, the heroine’s would-be-murderer husband is the Duke of Bloodsworth, which I’m allowing as sheer fairy tale hyperbole. Although, I would have been even more amused if it had also turned out to be an alias and he was really the Duke of Puddleton or somesuch.
Bloodsworth, in true pantomime villain style, tries to bump off his bride without even consummating the marriage; firstly by smothering her with a pillow, and then by throwing her off his yacht. She survives – just – and is found by Owen who happens to be riding past on his way to London, horribly depressed because a) the army has turned him into a coldblooded killer and b) the love of his life has married his elder brother. Owen fishes Annalise out of the river and tries to palm her off onto some passing gypsies, but then ends up going along with them after all. When Annalise comes round, she claims to have no memory of who she is or why she was nearly drowned, so Owen takes her to his house in London, where for reasons of plot convenience they are put in adjoining rooms.
At this point I probably should have given up, but I persevered. Many pages went by in which the hero and heroine continued to act in ways dictated entirely by plot constraints and completely failed to be open and honest with each other. At one point they stayed with Owen’s brother, the Earl of Wittingham (at his country seat close to the village of Whittinghamshire: another strange interpretation of British naming conventions!). Bloodsworth made a brief reappearance, although even his machinations feel a little flat, to be honest.
And they all lived happily ever after, I assume. Apparently this book is a retelling of an obscure fairy story, but with a better ending for the heroine. I just wish I could have cared enough about her and the hero to appreciate them getting that ending.
It was the wedding of the season…
When a handsome, charming duke proposes, heiress Annalise Hadley believes all of her fairytale dreams are about to come true. But on their wedding night, the once-perfect duke smothers her with a pillow and throws her over the side of their honeymoon barge. Apparently, the duke had no intention of marrying an unappealing bastard like her.
Annalise survives but her heart isn’t so lucky.
Fished out of the river by a reclusive earl, Annalise is nursed back to health by a man with his own demons…and a penchant for taking his shirt off in front of her. Alone with him in his remote lodge, she keeps her identity a secret, waiting for the day that she’s strong enough to visit the duke and take her revenge. But a lot can happen in the days and nights alone with a beautiful man. Is Annalise ready to seize the passion between her and the handsome earl? Or will her distrust of men keep her from claiming the love that blooms between them?
Read an excerpt.