Desert Isle Keeper
How to Lose a Bride in One Night
When you are constantly reading books for review, it is sometimes hard to continuously hope for good writing in each novel. Then you finally see it again and you say to yourself, “There you are! I have missed you!” That is what makes this job worthwhile. Sophie Jordan’s How to Lose a Bride in One Night is one of those books I long to read. From some of the reviews I have read about this book, not everyone agrees with me. But this is my review and I am sticking to it.
Annalise Hadley grew up not knowing her father or the fact that she had sisters. Her father, the obscenely wealthy Jack Hadley, tracked her down and brought her into the folds of the family. After a season and with an immense dowry, Annalise is shocked that she has landed a Duke. She knows that her dowry had a great deal to do with the marriage, but her insecurities over being overweight and a pronounced limp she sustained during a childhood accident make it seem like a surreal fairy tale. She is nevertheless shocked to find out on her wedding night that it was indeed a fairy tale, when her husband attempts to murder her by smothering her with a pillow. She feigns death and when he pitches her into the river is able to escape, but not without dire consequences. She is near death when she is finally rescued on the riverbank.
Owen Crawford, the Earl of McDowell is a tormented man. He has spent years in India as a sharpshooter with the British Army and has only been back in his home country for a short while. He carries a tremendous amount of guilt over those he has killed and the fact that he survived. He has just left his childhood home where he was visiting with his older brother who married Owen’s childhood sweetheart while he was gone. Now he just wants to be left alone to remember happier times in his life. Then he comes across a woman near death on the riverbank. He wants to leave her, figuring she is so near death she will not survive anyway, but his conscience will not let him and he becomes a reluctant hero.
There are not a lot of twists and turns in this book. It is evident from almost the very first who the bad guy is. The beginning of Annalise and Owen’s relationship is a road romance spent inside a gypsy camp. Annalise re-broke her leg when she was tossed about on the river and is suffering from blood loss and exposure. Owen runs across a group of gypsies and requests their help. A gypsy healer helps nurse her back to health and fix her leg. This sets up a Cinderella type transformation for Annalise, which though convenient is still believable.
While the plot certainly has a great deal to do with this story, much of it is character driven and Sophie Jordan does an excellent job of fleshing out the hero and heroine. I love when broken people are able to heal one another. I also love vulnerable alpha males. Annalise begins as a mouse and while she never really attains lion status, she does learn to stand up for herself. Owen does not magically get over the trauma of serving in India, but he does learn to accept it and hope for a better life than what he envisioned. The transformation of both characters is realistic and at times very poignant. I felt like applauding them in the end.
This book is the third in Sophie Jordan’s Forgotten Princesses series and it works well as a stand-alone. I have not read the first two books in the series, but after reading this book, I will have to go back and read the others.