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The Bride Takes a Groom: The Penhallow Dynasty Mass Market Paperback – 3 May 2018
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“Berne’s third Penhallow title maintains the exquisite writing, lush emotion, and complex characters we’ve come to expect [...] An elegant, poignant, and joyful romance and a must-read for Regency fans.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred))
“Regency fans will love this forthright, intellectual heroine and affable, resourceful hero.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Lisa Berne takes all the classic elements of a Regency romance and turns them upside down. The most charming surprise is the hero…who stands out from the legion of Regency leading men before him by being kind.” (BookPage)
“Berne’s light touches of humor (provided by the Penhallow parrot) and realistic dialogue bring the characters and atmosphere of the era to life. There will be a smile on many a reader’s lips by the satisfying HEA.” (RT Book Reviews)
“Now I know which book to bring on a desert island!” (Fresh Fiction)
From the Back Cover
Lisa Berne’s Penhallow Dynasty continues with a pair of star-crossed childhood friends who meet again years later—and find love where they least expect it . . .
Katherine Brooke may be a fabulously wealthy heiress, but she’s trapped, a pawn in her parents’ ruthless game to marry her into the nobility. Then Captain Hugo Penhallow—so charming, as handsome as a Greek god—comes into her life once more, and suddenly she sees a chance to be free.
As a Penhallow, his is one of the highest names in the land, but still his family is facing ruin. So Katherine boldly proposes an exchange: his name for her money. But only if Hugo understands it’s merely a practical arrangement, and that she’s not surrendering herself entirely.
Back from eight years in America and determined to give his younger siblings a better life, Hugo agrees. He’s never fallen in love, so why not? Yet neither of them guesses that this marriage will become far, far more than they ever dreamed of . . .See all Product description
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Captain Hugo Penhallow has been in America fighting a war for the past 10 years or so, and has returned home after being shot and breaking his leg. He rushes back home to see his mother and siblings, and finds all the love he missed while he was away. Unfortunately he also quickly realizes their dire financial situation, and he sets out to remedy their lack of resources right away. I liked that Hugo was an amiable and easy-going fellow - nothing ever seemed to ruffle his feathers. His dedication to his family and even his bratty bride was admirable. I would have liked to spend more time in Hugo's head, and wished that his character had been developed more once the story was established.
Katherine Brooke is an obscenely wealthy heiress to a family with common origins. Her parents are crass and ostentatious, and they are very strict as they have hung their hat on trading Katherine for a title and elevated social standing. When childhood friend Hugo comes back into her life, Katherine views it as the perfect business transaction to get out from under her parents' thumb. Unfortunately, Katherine acts extremely cold and high brow, and I absolutely hated the way she treated Hugo and his family for over half the book. She was such a brat and unlikable in every way. I admit that she was mostly redeemed by the end of the book, but that didn't start until very late, nearly 80% if I remember correctly.
The romance between these two was hot and cold, with more time on the cold and frustrating spectrum than I prefer. Hugo was definitely more committed and caring, and we didn't see the same side of Katherine until tragedy struck. Luckily, the Penhallows made up for Katherine's lack and really kept the plot advancing when I grew tired of Katherine's attitude. I particularly loved their penchant for collecting stray and homely animals, particularly Sir Rodrigo, the featherless parrot. He added a wonderfully light and humorous aspect to the story.
I did enjoy Berne's writing style and all of the other characters besides Katherine, so I will definitely continue reading her in the future. First I must go read the back list from the Penhallow Dynasty as I am just dying to know how the previous couples met and fell in love.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Avon.
Hugo Penhallow is a much-loved member of the prestigious Penhallow family. He’s not a peer, but his family name is so revered that he might as well be a duke. Hugo’s immediate family - mother, sister and three brothers - are impoverished. His father had spent his life on research rather than providing for his family and now things were getting really bad. Hugo, an army captain, was injured in the America’s (Canada) and had to leave the service. He had been sending a portion of his income to his mother and his cousin Gabriel had also granted Hugo's mother a stipend. Hugo thought that was enough to get by until he got home and saw the state of affairs. Hugo loved his family beyond reason. They were just a loving, caring, involved family – all of them – and Hugo couldn’t stand to see them impoverished. It was his responsibility to care for them. Before he’d arrived, he’d already decided to look up Katherine Brooke (a very wealthy heiress) who he remembered fondly from his childhood and ask for her hand in marriage. It would be a marriage of convenience only because he had never fallen in love and just assumed that he never would.
Katherine Brooke hardly remembers her childhood before her father inherited all of her grandfather’s wealth. She had closed all of that away. She had been a sweet, loving child who very much enjoyed her closest neighbors – the Penhallow family – especially Hugo. She was bereft when he went away to school and then into the army. Then, her grasping, greedy, social-climbing parents inherited all of her grandfather’s wealth - they moved into a newly built garish mansion and Katherine became a pawn. Katherine was constantly belittled by her parents, nothing she ever did was good enough – she had to be absolutely perfect in everything and perfect was defined by her parents. Then she was sent to the most gosh-awful school where they were probably worse than her parents. Some readers have written reviews saying she was spoiled. Well, I don’t see it. Yes, she was provided with clothes (which she hated), jewels (which she hated) and all the luxuries. The clothes and jewels weren’t of a style she would have preferred and she was denied any of the luxuries that were important to her. She was like a bird in a cage – lovely but denied all freedoms. Her parents were cold, boorish and very unloving – her only use to them was to provide them a social status when she married. All she wanted was to get away – to be alone – and she saw her chance when Hugo Penhallow called at her home.
After Hugo meets Katherine again, he wonders where the lovely little Kate he knew had gone. She had been replaced by a shrew. When she proposes to him, they strike a bargain that can only bring unhappiness to both of them. However – she needs her freedom and he needs her money so they strike the bargain made in hell.
Hugo doesn’t change throughout the book. He is always calm, caring, devoted to his family, happy, cheerful, etc. Katherine, however, is like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon as a lovely butterfly. It takes her a while, it doesn’t happen overnight – and she has setbacks along the way, but, in the end, it is a lovely thing. It would have been nice to see a bit of temper from him on occasion - but then -- I guess that wouldn't have been what Katherine needed from him.
This wasn’t an ‘exciting’ book that kept you turning the pages to see what would happen next. There were no real villains (other than her parents) who were trying to create havoc. It also had surprisingly little angst - given Katherine's history. It was a slow and steady read with a constant growth to our heroine.
I particularly liked senor Rodrigo, the parrot. He was delightful and added a nice bit of humor. Another thing I liked was telling part of the story through the family letters. It was lovely to see the inner thoughts of the other family members – particularly the twin boys who were at school.
This book is part of a series, but can easily be read and understood as a stand-alone.
"I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."