Bravo to Fobes for an intriguing and original idea. Unfortunately, she should have had someone else write the book or found a much better editor. Fobes hasn't put enough thought into the creation of her futuristic world. She gives unsatisfactory reasons for some of the more important aspects of Blackfell and its society. Additionally she appears to forget the rules she has herself created. She gives us a world nearly devoid of women but forgets until the very last moment that this means her hero is a virgin. She tosses off some dire environmental effect like the extinction of all carnivorous animals completely forgetting that the disappearing-reappearing, semi-sentient cat, Baudrons, is carnivorous. There's no wheat anymore so no bread but we can eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning and apparently the secret of milling oats into flour was lost with that of electricity. We're so many thousands of years in the future that there are no remaining ruins of cities but somehow in a world without electricity or D-Cell batteries they can still power a plastic, bedside clock. The problems go on and on -- and that's just the world-building stuff.
Our heroine, because of her own fertility problems has dedicated herself to studying infertility....in men. If she's so devastated by her inability to bear children why focus on men rather than women? It could be explained but it never is and no one even questions it. Then there's the question of the ex-husband who I'm convinced only existed in order for Jordan to prove her infertility and give her a serviceable reason to be adamantly opposed to marriage. Except that you can never figure out why Jordan married the cold fish in the first place and it makes her look like a nit-wit that she would have.
Also, nothing much happens in this book. Have I mentioned that, yet? Jordan gets brought forward in time to marry the Patriarch and find a cure for the Plague, but mostly she spends time sequestered in a room alone in the Gallery doing nothing but lamenting over the ugliness of her clothing and plotting to seduce Conlean so she can marry him instead of his father. She and Conlean do some minor bits of spying around, but they're lousy at it. Hell, they're lousy about even walking out in plain view on mundane errands and not drawing undue attention to their illegal behavior. I mean, just dumb, slap-yourself-in-the-forhead kinds of things --- like in a horror movie where the heroine figures it's a good idea to go wandering backward through the dark house investigating an odd noise dressed in her underwear when there's a serial killer on the loose. THAT kind of dumb stuff. It isn't suspenseful. It's stomach-turningly idiotic.
Jordan is supposed to be in training to be the Matriarch --learning about Blackfell and her new society etc. but she doesn't really do any of that. Nobody tells her anything and yet it takes nearly six weeks for her to learn nothing, never be shown to a lab to work on curing the plague and not discover who is spreading rumors about her and spying on her. So what the heck is going on during all this time? Apparently nothing. She and Conlean don't really spend all that much time out and about together certainly not six weeks of days and evenings. It makes no sense at all for this dire, urgent problem to be facing them and to be doing nothing productive about it.
Then the surprise villain pops up followed swiftly by the surprise mysterious ally and the book is over. In the epilogue we see that Jordan is finally working on trying to find a cure for the plague. In the EPILOGUE!!! It was the whole point of her being brought to the future in the first place and it's mentioned as an afterthought in the epilogue because apparently Fobes forgot about this part of the story as well. Meanwhile we've been set up for a second book about this same world with the surprise mysterious ally and likely Jordan's sister to be the protagonists.
I can understand how the first book in a series might get bogged down explaining a new world to readers and then subsequent books would improve, but not only does Portrait of a Bride get bogged down while nothing much happens, the explanations provided aren't well thought out, generally make no sense and are often completely forgotten by the author as she rushes on to contrive some plot twist so that the story actually moves forward a little bit.
Don't waste your time or your money.