The Bride's Necklace
Although The Bride’s Necklace features the same characteristics found in many Regency-era romances, the characters and the situations offer a romantic read. And those looking for less fluff in their historicals may find it here.
When her mother dies, Victoria Temple is the only one who can protect her younger sister Claire from the perverted attentions of their stepfather. And Tory will do anything to help her beautiful sibling: Endure beatings, steal an heirloom necklace, and even disguise their true identities. Tory knows that her stepfather will do all it takes to get the necklace and Claire back in his grasp. What better why to hide than to dress as servants? But posing as the working class is rather difficult when no one will hire them but the Earl of Brant, a known rake. With no other opportunities, Tory must take the Earl up on his offer, only to realize that she may have put her sister in even more danger when she notices the gleam of want in the Earl’s eyes as he gazes upon Claire. Once again, it is up to Tory to protect Claire from the amorous attentions of a man.
It is true that Cord, Earl of Brant, gives Tory and Claire a position in his home intent on seducing the ethereal Claire. Life is not easy as of late and Cord needs a new mistress in order to forget his money woes. But it does not take long for him to discover that innocent Claire is not the woman for him – it is Tory who intrigues him, with her mind and body. Soon enough, Cord is forming plans to make Tory his new mistress. Still, the more Cord gets to know Tory, the more he realizes that she is hiding something. But Cord does not have time to dwell on Tory’s secrets, for his own money problems are paramount in his mind.
Tory cannot let Cord know that she is actually of noble birth since, if he finds out, he will be obligated to hand her and her sister over to their stepfather. She knows that she is tempting fate by working for the man and that sooner or later they will be found. She is also tempting fate with her own virginity, for she knows that she cannot hold back her desire to become Cord’s mistress. But what will happen when Cord finds out that his mistress is actually the daughter of a peer? And, even worse, what will happen to her lovely and innocent sister? In the end, Tory must make the biggest choice of all – the choice between the two people she loves and her own happiness.
The Bride’s Necklace was a smooth and easy read that shows Martin’s experience as a writer. The characters are, for the most part, all likable – even innocent, gorgeous Claire ends up being sweet and caring, unlike the stereotypical self-centered beautiful sister found in many novels. And there is certainly plenty of action to keep the reader engrossed. Martin has a bit of that old school dark writing that I enjoy, instead of the fluffy historicals that are in multitude today. There is a sequel in the making that takes off with a secondary character from this novel that I would read without hesitation as the characters seem rather enjoyable.
Let’s face it, at this point we have read just about every scenario possible in the romance genre and, of course we do have the same subplots here that are found elsewhere. The multiple storylines found in The Bride’s Necklace would keep the reader absorbed, but for the fact that the book seemed to jump from scene to scene at times. On a personal note, I was a bit disappointed in the fact that Cord was not as alpha a male as I would have liked, especially when it comes down to dealing with Tory’s stepfather. But he does seem to fit the typical historical hero, making me miss the Medieval alpha males of the old days all the more.
Although there are some clichéd moments and choppy scene sequencing, the fast-paced plot and amiable characters make The Bride’s Necklace fairly entertaining.