The Bargain Bride (Center Point Platinum Romance (Large Print)) Hardcover – Large Print, 1 Feb 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this story, we have a comical though sometimes painful dissection of an arranged marriage of convenience. This marriage is set up for the usual reasons of advancement and money and will cross quite serious class divides. However, our heroine, the daughter of a rich and ambitious cit, has taken umbrage at being kept waiting for 13 years and is ready to kick over the traces. Our hero, originally the younger son, finds himself inheriting his father's title and, suddenly, his life needs to undergo some serious change - no longer in the Army, no longer living the life of a young buck in London, he needs to set up his nursery with a willing wife.
There are the usual coterie of oddball servants and relatives in this one; watch out for Marcel, her grandpa's valet, and a pretty unusual pug dog who needs the kiss of life every now and then. Add in some annoying stepsisters, a bit of a mystery and an abduction and you have one of the author's funny and harum scarum set-ups.
I particularly liked the homage to the late Edith Layton that appears in the chapter headings purporting to be from a tome on arranged marriages; some terrific one-liners here - worth the price of the book in my view.
I really liked this and had several hours of real reading pleasure. Highly recommended to her fans but also to those who like regencies, like comedy and appreciate talented, well crafted prose.
However, West changes his mind upon meeting the beautiful effervescent Penny. Her father suggests Penny marry her stepbrother Nigel, son of his second wife. Instead West invokes the agreement, but his former lover and her odious step-sibling have other abduction plans for the pair that ignores West and Penny falling in love.
THE BARGAIN BRIDE is a humorous Regency romance filled with an eccentric cast that seems to have escaped from bedlam as their chaotic antics are fun to follow; but centered and owned by the lead couple. Fans will relish this fine historical as the battle for who marries Penny shapes into a zany free for all in which Penny must determine whom she can trust with her life. Topped by citations from the chronicles of "By Arrangement" heading each chapter, this is an amusing entertaining tale with a suspense subplot enhancing the jocularity; as Barbara Metzger is at the top of her game.
But this is also the first Barbara Metzger I haven't finished. On my second try, I made it just over halfway. I'll probably give it a third try at some point, but since Metzger is in my top five must buy list, The Bargain Bride has to go down in the disappointment category. It has all the elements I love - the self capable heroine, the repentant hero, the arranged marriage (I'm a sucker for those), the positive view of male relationships, but it fails to come together. There's too much farce and not enough friction. Penny is angry, West is resigned, but why are they together? He's ready to make the best of it, she's decided she must fight him at all costs or we'd lack a plot. I mean, or her heart will be broken again. There are typically wonderful touches - Penny's book of adolescent poetry is as dreadful as it should be, West understands her reluctance to be seduced - but it never gains enough speed to lift all the baggage it carries.
I'm absolutely buying the author's next book, but this one just wasn't for me.
Penny and West had been promised to each other in an arranged marriage, formally taking Penny off the "market" at age 13. She waited, and waited.... and waited some more for her handsome West to call for her. When Penny finally had moved on (after 13 years!, content to live as a spinster doing charity work, her long awaited = suddenly and without notice, comes knocking at her door early one morning. She was NOT happy.
She agrees to the marriage, with her father promising her the moon if she will move to London with her new husband, and use his influence to find future husbands for her step-mother's spoiled daughters.
Metzger does a fantastic job weaving in and out through several lives and 3 households with drama, suspense and surprises.
I plan to look for more of her works, hoping for more entertainment!