Monday, January 29, 2018

ARC Book #Review: The Bittersweet Bride by @VanessRiley

Book Title: The Bittersweet Bride (Advertisements for Love 1)
Author:  Vanessa Riley |WebsiteTwitterFacebook|
Publisher: Entangled Amara
Genre: Historical Romance, Interracial Romance
Series/Standalone:  Series, Book 1
Format: ebook
Cost: $3.99
Pages: 200
How I got it: NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Entangled Publishing
Publication DateJan 29, 2018
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Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.

Ewan Fitzwilliam has been at war for six years. Now, the second son of a powerful earl is back but his beloved Theo needs a husband and will not consider him. She believes Ewan left her—in desperate straits—so she denies the feelings she still harbors for the handsome, scarred soldier. Theo and playwright Ewan must overcome bitter lies and vengeful actions that ruined their youthful affair. Theo must reveal her deepest secret in order to reclaim the love that has long been denied.
I snagged this one simply because it was mentioned by a favorite author on twitter, once I got it approved I jumped in.  I had just finished reading a historical romance by Beverly Jenkins and was looking forward to another and this was perfectly right up my alley.

Going in I never read the synopsis especially if a fave recommends it.  I found that I needed to put this book down and give myself complete time and attention in getting this book established on my reading schedule. I normally read ebooks during the day at work and during travel and save my physical books for being at home, there was so much going on that I needed to wait until I finished everything else and could devote time to it.

The beginning of this novel is a bit of an information dumb as it needs to establish the story and the time period for you, once it's established this novel actually flew by.  It's full of angst, people being prideful and stubborn and everything that makes a regency romance the fun read that it is.  I loved that this romance was a second chance romance, I guessed what her secret was pretty early on and knew what her motivation was, Ewan?? That boy worked my last nerve, he couldn't see past his pain and never once considered how things could have gone for her once he wasn't around.

Ewan is a good guy who is a bit selfish, he hasn't quite grown up yet despite having been apart of the military and having a close to death experience.  Like most men of that time period he had a major double standard and I wasn't really ok with the way he talked to the woman he claimed to love.  More than once his brother had to challenge his views before he would begin to wonder if the rumors were just that vicious rumors especially when you considered the sources.  I loved that the author showed the complicity and viciousness of some of the women in this era even as they wanted to be protected they threw other women under the bus, even when they could have aided them.

Theo carried a lot of guilt because she wanted to be a respectable woman but she's black and her pedigree didn't allow her the same kind of respect,she clung to the past as a way to make sure she never repeated those mistakes again.  While I understand that even her friends could tell that she wasn't as happy as she claimed to be.

I loved that this was a complex story line that dealt with forgiveness and learning to stand on one's own.  This demanded that the characters challenge their perspectives of their peers and themselves, while learning to navigate the world as the other did.  Theo's experience made it hard for her to trust especially in such an openly hostile environment where they were happy to eat her food but still looked down on her because she was black. She also wasn't alone anymore her actions could hurt her husband's heir and this made her extremely cautious, she feared failing him and disappointing the man who loved her enough to take on society's scorn.

I loved the way in which Theo challenged Ewan, he wanted everything to go back to the way it was and was willing to 'forgive' her for moving on when he most certainly didn't wait for her either.  I found myself googling about places and the names people were called especially after the theatre manager made his comment,and like a really good book not only did I enjoy the story but I also learned something.

While I did enjoy this one, I felt it took too long to get to them reconciling, most of the obstacles where self created and each time one got taken care of another was placed in the way.  I also felt as if at times we didn't get much on the characters' friends and family, they were simply tossed in the scene without much background given.  There was a whole lot going on and every once in a while I felt a little lost on who was who and what was happening.

Overall once the story got started it moved pretty quickly, with secrets being revealed and everyone being left to find out they were supposed to be after it's reveal.  I loved the friends and Ewan's brother Jasper and can't wait to find out if one of the friends ends up as his partner.  Very interesting read, I learned a bit more about the Regency era and Blackmoors. I can't wait to see what happens to the other girls.  It will be interesting to see if we get glimpses of Theo and Ewan even any future children and how that is affected by the world they live in.

  • Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Happy Reading my loves, 

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