Debut author Janna MacGregor comes to the blog today with the first in her Regency-era romance, the first in The Cavensham Heiresses series. Please read on for my review and an excerpt, and be sure to enter the blog exclusive giveaway where you could win a paperback copy of the title (US Only). But first
The Bad Luck Bride
As I started off, I was thrown by the development of the hero in Alex: vengeful, determined and more than a bit controlling, he was a character that I instantly found dislikable and while I appreciated MacGregor’s attempt to bring a deeply flawed and wounded character to redemption, I had reservations. And then I met Claire: constantly thinking of herself as cursed, with yet another engagement exploding in a most unusual way: with the rather mousey and innocuous introduction, I didn’t see compelling, and worried that Alex would be one who manipulated and reframed So the whole “curse” passed me by, unless one is referring to it in terms of social position, and there, Claire is cursed with being a woman at a time when her purpose in life is to marry well, and personal choice is not an option.
So we move on and at about the 50% mark the story started to show great flashes of promise in the writing: complex ideas, a bit more character development and the backstories are slowly revealed and bring an option to find more depth in the characters than in my initial impressions. But, the continued “we’ll discuss this later” moments, combined with constant interruptions from others, all playing out against Alex’s continued manipulation of situations and Claire: lying to her, watching her to “help her” (ick) and never really listening just rubbed me wrong. Claire was equally to blame, whether the attention (when she got it) from Alex is what she wanted, or she was just so ingrained to be “married” that she was willing to convince herself that she felt love for him – I missed that connection or those moments from Alex that didn’t feel proscribed or convenient. And when Alex’s duplicity is discovered, and everything that Claire thought was solid dissolved into ash, she leaves – a completely understandable reaction and one that moved her from mouse to kitten. Of course, Alex has his epiphany and realizes he loves her beyond measure, but the damage done early on just didn’t seem to allow for this option to me. Sure, it’s fiction and meant to end in a happy ever after, love you forever moment – but with all of the twists, the deception and the bad behavior –I wasn’t convinced.
As a debut offering, it showed promise, although it decidedly left room for improvement: a few plot holes and perhaps a few too many twists and interruptions as the couple’s connection should have been more palpable and believable, with Alex’s realization that his actions and behavior are in need of adjustment did not come soon enough, and I felt as though his realizations were too little and more about his losing than realizing his behavior pushed her away, and he needed to change that before making new attempts. Story flow was uneven, starting with a bit of a bang, the back and forth and twists dragged on – where I expected development and palpable emotions I didn’t find it, and the story didn’t really bring those moments where I needed to know what came next. There is promise here, as MacGregor can write a wonderful description, and does integrate historic norms and information with flair, her conversations are solid and the secondary characters did arrive with enough intrigue to know more, all good things when looking for a new author. I’m curious about the next book in the series, finding this one promising even as it didn’t feel as fully realized as I would have hoped.
Title: The Bad Luck Bride
Author: Janna MacGregor
Series: The Cavensham Heiresses #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Setting: Britain
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Published on: 2 May, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
IS MARRIAGE A BLESSING OR A CURSE?
A man of honor, Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, will not rest until he exacts revenge on the man who destroyed his family. Just one more piece must fall into place for him to succeed he needs to convince his enemy s fiancee, the tragically beautiful Lady Claire Cavensham, to marry him instead.
Lady Claire s curse has always left her one misstep away from social ruin her past three engagements have gone awry, and now her fourth is headed in the same direction. . .until Alex, a man she barely even knows, shocks the ton and Claire by announcing their engagement. What begins as a sham turns into something deeper, and more passionate, than either Claire or Alex could have imagined. But when their secrets are revealed, will the truth behind their union scandalize them both or is their love strong enough to break the curse and lead them toward their happily ever after?
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.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: