Jane Ashford is back! ONCE AGAIN A BRIDE, her latest Regency historical with mystery, is sure to enchant all the fans who have missed her.
Charlotte isn't sorry about the murder of her selfish, tyrannical husband--she's furious. He squandered her considerable dowry, leaving her penniless. Enter her husband's cousin Alec, who's young, kind, handsome and responsible. Everything her husband wasn't. How could she not fall in love with him?
Alec deplores his cousin's treatment of his young wife. But Charlotte is just another burden to a man already overburdened caring for his sisters, his estate, and trying to avert disaster in a countryside ripe for violence over the dislocations caused by the Industrial Revolution. But the lady is beautiful, in distress and alone, with a core of steel underlying the soft exterior. How could he not fall in love with her?
Neither Charlotte nor Alec can deny their attraction. Neither can they deny their distrust of each other as Charlotte becomes the prime suspect in her husband's murder investigation.
Ms. Ashford weaves a tale of both deceptive appearances and how adversity can make or break a person. Charlotte, married too young, cowed into submission by her rat of a husband, comes into her own as she fights the accusations and whispers against her. Alec learns not to make snap judgments when he finds Charlotte is not the mouse she appears to be.
Mystery entwines with the romance, as Ms. Ashford leads us astray on the trail of the real murderer. She concludes with an exciting abduction, chase, and rescue that depart from the usual fare while weaving in the multitude of problems facing England after Napoleon's defeat.
But Charlotte's and Alec's story is first and foremost. I think Charlotte is a little too young, but her youth makes her transformation into a self-assured woman all the more glorious. Alec is my favorite type of hero, the decent man (he's also blond--I love blond men!), who must work to overcome his initial distrust of Charlotte despite his attraction to her.
ONCE AGAIN A BRIDE is great fun. Have a good time.
ARC provided by Sourcebooks