Is there ever a point where a hero is so gosh darn awful that he becomes irredeemable? My tolerance for cruelty to a heroine by the hero is admittedly low, but the cruelty by the hero in The Bridegroom may even be too much for fans of this type of romantic device.
Lady Regina Wharton is enjoying her fourth Season, unencumbered by the need to get married. After watching her sister Rebecca suffer in silence in her abusive marriage, Reggie is not eager to get herself in the same predicament. Then along comes Clay Bannister, the Earl of Carlisle. He tempts Reggie as no other has done before and passes all of her tests to prove he will be a good husband. Little does she know that the Earl is putting on an act. He is using Reggie to get back at her father – the man who falsely accused him of a crime and had him deported. His goal is to marry Reggie, make her miserable, and then deny her father access to her and any children they should have.
I enjoyed the secondary romance involving Reggie’s sister Rebecca and it was coming along nicely until the Big Misunderstanding. When Rebecca finds out that her intended, Mick gave up his newly found inheritance to her recently bankrupt husband in exchange for an anullment for her and custody of her daughter she is furious because he didn’t talk to her about it first. He gives up his inheritance. For her. I kept thinking she should be falling on her knees in gratitude (I certainly would if my child’s safety was insured).
The Bridegroom has its moments – the heroine is wonderfully positive and strong, and very adaptable. If she hadn’t thought herself in love with Clay before he finally got his priorities straight (which unfortunately didn’t happen until she almost got killed) she alone would have been worth the read. The deaf butler is a surprising and humorous touch in such an unhappy book. All in all, a very few ups in a pretty depressing read.