The Prince's Bride continues where 'The Marriage Lesson' left off, telling the story of Marianne's sister, Jocelyn Shelton, who for her own protection is forced by circumstances into a marriage to Rand Beaumont. Neither want the marriage, but Jocelyn agrees to save her sisters from untoward harm from the situation she finds herself in. Rand agrees because he feels at least partially responsible for the threat Jocelyn faces, and Rand is someone who has a very strong sense of duty.
He also knows he can protect her from harm.
Neither have a particularly good first impression of the other. Rand, and perhaps the reader too (if you have read 'The Marriage Lesson' you will be aware Jocelyn is portrayed as beautiful but vain, and her central interest is in snagging the richest husband she can) thinks of Jocelyn as flighty, selfish, childish and mercenary. Jocelyn is disappointed that Rand is a 'mere' Viscount, and not overly happy with some of his personality traits either. However, both agree to the marriage for the reasons outlined above.
So, at this point we have a somewhat unattractive herione, and a not especially convincing reason for their marriage.
Thankfully, the situation improves once Rand and Jocelyn are removed from London and spend some time alone together. It is worth the wait to become more engaged with Jocelyn, as she emerges as someone who does know her own faults, and is determined to overcome them. She IS vain, but that she is well aware of, and works to overcome. It is true to say that someone who is valued for their looks only can become rather fond of them! During the course of the book Jocelyn becomes more confident of herself outside of her physical beauty, and she constantly strives to make the best of the situation. Rand is hardly perfect - for a member of the ton he can let the most insensitive things simply slip out, but Jocelyn is able to get past her hurt feelings and delve more into the reasons why. She is always honest (the same cannot be said of Rand) and throws herself into making the marriage work.
The storyline quickly develops from that point, with the drawing together of the two central characters. Jocelyn emerges as a perceptive woman, very self aware and able to apply that analysis to others also. She earns the admiration of her husband, as well as his cousin, her own brother, and Marianne's husband Thomas. I liked the continuity of these characters being brought into the story from 'The Marriage Lesson' and it worked very well in showing Jocelyn's personal journey as she faces facts about her husband that surface throughout the last half of the book. As usual the characterisation of both central and secondary characters (Rand's uncle is particularly delightful) is well done and each character is distinctive.
It is not necessary to read the earlier book, but I would recommend that you do.
The search of a wannabe princess for her prince, and discovering that what she needed after all was a husband who loved and wanted only her is told with Alexander's customary wit and charm. A worthy additon to the series.