I’d first encountered Jane Goodger at the tail end of her Lords and Ladies series: now with the new Brides of St. Ives series set in the Victorian era brings me another opportunity. Please read on for my review of
The Bad Luck Bride
With three failures to reach the altar – one death, one fortune-hunter and one leaving her in a church without a groom, Alice, granddaughter of a Duke is not only humiliated by the men, but the papers have chimed in dubbing her “the Bad-Luck Bride” and leaving her the object of whispers and speculation. Poor Alice, while not heartsick, she is humiliated, thanking the stars that her last marriage failure happened in London and not at her home in St. Ives. So marriage isn’t in her cards – she’s not going to stick around for a fourth – she’s heading back home to adjust her life to the quieter pursuits available to an unmarried woman of her time.
I adored Alice – seriously adored her: she wasn’t in love with any of the men she was to marry, so there was little whinging and wailing about that – in fact, she’s almost removed herself from love since the disappearance of her brother’s best friend and her first and everlasting crush, after her brother’s death. This is one of those ‘compare them all’ sort of things for her, and no one could even come close to her memories of him. And then, he appears and Alice’s world is turned on its ear.
Henderson has returned to St. Ives after a long absence, hoping to see Alice, the woman he’s been in love with for years. He’s never spoken to that love, or even really thought it possible: there are too many obstacles. A bustard, he’s struggled with the shame and questions all of his life, and while he and Joseph (Alice’s brother) were best friends and almost inseparable, Joseph had asked for Henderson’s promise to never touch Alice. Now racked with guilt over Joseph’s death and believes that it was his fault that Joseph killed himself, or did he?
SO much goodness here: Henderson without the inherited titles and outward ‘suitability’ so demanded by Alice’s family, he’s far more honorable than most of the tonne, and so desperately in love with Alice that it’s easy to see. And her blossoming in his company, with love and admiration radiating off her in waves. So darn sweet and wonderfully plotted as we learn of Henderson’s struggles with his own birth, the friendship with Joseph and his enduring affection for Alice. Then we see Alice taking more control of her own life and choices, to actually recognize and acknowledge the connection between them that is so perfectly fitted they are pieces in the same puzzle. With clever twists and a touch of mystery surrounding Joseph’s death, the unfolding of Henderson’s past and perspective and Alice’s growth in her own struggles and with her choices, the story was clever and engaging, and a wonderful start to a new series.
Title: The Bad Luck Bride
Author: Jane Goodger
Series: The Brides of St. Ives #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Setting: Britain, Victorian
Published by: Lyrical Press
Published on: 13 June, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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The Brides of St. Ives
Welcome to St. Ives, the charming seaside town where even a down-on-her luck bride might find her way back to love . . .
As if being left at the alter for the third time isn’t bad enough, Lady Alice Hubbard has now been dubbed “The Bad Luck Bride” by the London newspapers. Defeated, she returns to her family’s estate in St. Ives, resolved to a future as a doting spinster. After all, a lady with her record of marital mishaps knows better than to dream of happily-ever-after. But then Alice never expects to see Henderson Southwell again. Her beloved brother’s best friend disappeared from her life soon after her brother’s death. Until now . . .
Alice is just as achingly beautiful as Henderson remembers. And just as forbidden. For the notorious ladies’ man made one last promise to Alice’s brother before he died—and that was never to pursue her. But one glimpse of Alice’s sorrow and Henderson feels a powerful urge to put the light back in her lovely eyes, one lingering kiss at a time. Even if it means falling in love with the one woman he can never call his bride . . .
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.