In 1849 New York City, with the aid of her Aunt Pru and the servant Patrick, Celia Thomason makes a living as a highly regarded spiritualist. Irish businessman Brendan O'Neal, a skeptic, hires Celia to perform her parlor tricks with his distraught brother-in-law, Garrick Stevens. The grieving Garrick feels deep remorse over the accidental death of his beloved spouse, Amanda. Brendan wants Celia to shake Garrick out of his depression and also learn the truth behind Amanda's death.
To her shock Celia makes the deceased spouse actually appear in her aunt's home. While dining together at the Astor, Celia becomes drunk. The next day, Brendan persuades her that they had sex even though nothing happened between them. He blackmails her into marrying him even though he cannot understand why he is doing this. However, he becomes angry when he thinks she is scamming him when his deceased sister reappears. Meanwhile, Celia begins to think Garrick killed Amanda. As and Brendan fall in love, they pursue the truth guided by Amanda even if her spouse thinks her appearances are a distasteful parlor trick.
THE FOREVER BRIDE is an enjoyable historical romantic story line that adds a ghost and a mystery into a mix that triumphantly brings mid-nineteenth century New York City to life. Celia is a warm heroine who has the courage to do what it takes to succeed. The support cast augments the tale with a genuine taste of a bygone era. Though Brendan's attitude seems phony, Judith O'Brien writes a superb Americana historical romance sub-genre fans will relish.