All in all, I am not an avid historical romance reader, preferring to stick to contemporary or paranormal. However, every now and then I do get a craving for a dashing rogue, back when chivalry was something to be taken seriously and not a joke. That said, I picked up The Bride Thief from my local Borders as the back synopsis sounded good.
The heroine is someone whom you don't find as the typical regency heroine. She's "dowdy", older than marriageable age and obsessed with scientific experiments. Samantha is delightful, however, a wonderfully complex character, with more than what she appears to be. She's spirited, stubborn and (to Eric's eyes) sexy. Ah, so many 's' words...(read the book and you'll understand that last statement)
The hero definitely met my requirements for a dashing rogue. He's handsome, caring and funny, able to laugh at himself. He is also the Bride Thief, a man who rescues poor women who are being forced into an arranged marriage by their families and setting them free in America or the Continent. Every time he dons the costume he risks death...how can you not love a regency romance Zorro??
Our protagonists meet when Sammie's father arranges for her to marry a dreadful man, which she quickly gets herself out of via cleverness, but Eric doesn't realise and rescues her - only to realise he is now going to have to return her. After this, Sammie finds herself in the spotlight, something she hates and she is suddenly introduced to the Earl of Wesley (Eric) who just wants to know if she's okay after his abduction. Of course, once the sparks ignite, there's no stopping them.
I loved this book. I thought it was funny, very romantic and intriguing. An element of suspense is also introduced as the net for the Bride Thief ever decreases. D'allessandro is a brilliant writer and I think that if you give this book a chance, you will fall in love too.
Eric is probably one of the most charming hero I've met. And the way he's so crazy jealous of himself (I.e. alter ego The Bride Thief) when he thinks Samantha has feelings for the masked guy is amusing.
The dialogues in the books are smooth, entertaining and purposeful. It's not chit-chat but it brings the story forward. Samantha is an intelligent and interesting young woman - and totally opposite of her matchmaking mother, who loves to "faint" at timely and untimely occasions.
The first few chapters before Samantha meets Eric (she met the Bride Thief first), however when they do meet, it's fascinating to observe their relationship development, and it was difficult to stop reading. Loved the way it was described how he slowly fell in love with her without stating it outright. He was nervous in her presence and couldn't find anything to talk about, when he was usually not a guy that had problems with conversation.
I've read a couple of D'Allessandro's books now and she's quickly moving up to the shelf of favorites (where Lisa Kleypas is quite dominating). D'Alessandro describes the road to love and affection rather than the whole easily written 'rake meets innocent girl' plot where everything focuses on how many times he makes her blush and how much he wants to have sex with her and how arrogant and annoying he is, but the heroine just CANT help but fall for him.
Like that in many of her stories the hero/heroine has a passion for a certain hobby (in this case science and astronomy) - its not all about romantic, forbidden meetings on balls/soirees/darkly lit libraries. The hero and heroine are always equally attracted to each other and are honest about it to themselves and to the other part. The romantic development is a tad more realistic than most romantic stories, and the road to love is sweet - however her stories never lack sizzling, hot sensual tension between the couple.
I highly recommend The Bride Thief - or anything by D'Alessandro!
"The Bride Thief" is a fabulous love story set in Regency England.Samantha Briggeham is a young lady on her way to become a spinster and she is quite happy to live her live in the country helping her younger brother with his experiments. When her matchmaking parents betroth her against her will she decides to save herself from the unwanted marriage. Unfortunately the infamous "Bride Thief" arrives in time to rescue her and when Samantha explains him his mistake he takes her back to her parent's house. Eric Landsdowne, the Earl of Wesley spends his time running his estate and rescuing helpless young ladies from their unwanted forced marriages and helping them to find their place in the world. He is a handsome and charming man, the victim of the matchmaking mamas and nobody knows that he is hiding behind the black mask of this unusual thief. Samantha's practical behaviour and innocent sensuality awakes passion and strange emotions in the earl and he can't stay away from her. Samantha is attracted to the handsome aristocrat and at the same time she is fascinated by the Bride Thief's powerful maleness. After her abduction and safe return she becomes the toast of the neighbouring society gatherings and she thinks all the gentlemen among them Eric pay court to her only becuse of her encounter with the thief. She doesn't trust Eric but she can't resist his charm and kisses and they become lovers. Unfortunately they are found in a compromising position and they are forced to get married. The road to happiness is full of misunderstandings, lack of trust, danger and Eric's secrets from the past. The author has written an entertaining romance using the elements of romantic adventure, deep passion and an honourable and noble cause. I like the style, in which she pulls the reader's attention to the shameful and legally accepted forced marriages in those times and the way she made her hero deal with it.The lead couple's encounters are romantic and their passion sensual. THE BRIDE THIEF is an exciting historical romance discussing the helpless position of women in the past when they legally didn't have a say in their own future. I recommend it to all readers enjoying this sub-genre.
This is my first book from this author, and I won't be actively seeking her other works. It's not that this is a lousy read..it's just...ORDINARY. Stuff I've read and re-read in so manny other romance books. And while there are other books which use ordinary plots (and reused ones!)... they make up for it by being witty, and interesting through the interaction between the characters. This book comes across as an OK read, but it didnt' grip me with the 'don't put me down' fervour... I enjoy reading romances with a touch of intelligence and humour, but I found this book quite dry. The story's about a man who resorts tto stealing unwilling brides (rescuing them from their unwilling fate - akin to Robin Hood, cept he grants women freedom and uses his own money to send them abroad to pursue a new life) and is therefore wanted by the authorities. One day, he rescues a girl (who did not need his rescuing because she's full capable of taking care of herself)... and from their first meeting, they feel an attraction that of course haunts them for the rest of the story, till he is unmasked by his lady love. And naturally, as with all other romances, the thief has to be a titled and good loking gentleman who has foresworn marriage... and she is an unpopular dowdy bluestocking... but he will see through the thick spectacles to see her charm and her wit. YAWN. This is such an overused plot...I prefer books from Julia Quinn where there is more substance, humour and wit in the stories. Given a choice, I would prefer not to have bought this book...in fact, I read it through halfway, got so bored, and I had to skip through some chapters, and then directly leafed it through the end. I've read better romances.