The Spring Bride
This is the third book in Ms Gracie’s Chance Sisters series and while it’s perhaps a little “lightweight” when compared to the previous book (The Winter Bride – my personal favourite) it still has much to recommend it.
Jane Chance is about to make her come-out and her beauty will ensure that she has her pick of eligible suitors. So her sisters are surprised when she accepts an offer from a rather dull and unprepossessing young man who is enthralled by her extraordinary beauty and talks of “adding her to his collection” of beautiful things. They try to talk her out of it, but Jane will not be dissuaded. For her, the most important thing about marriage is security; she has no wish to again experience the fear and deprivation she and her sister Abby had to face after their parents died, and is convinced that making a marriage of convenience with a wealthy man who clearly admires her greatly will be enough, and that perhaps love will grow eventually.
Her convictions are shaken, however, when she is assisted in her rescue of a mangy dog by a tall, dark, handsome gypsy, whose remarkable grey-green eyes she is unable to forget. Zachary Black is not, in fact a gypsy, even though he is perhaps somewhat on the wrong side of “respectable”. Having left home and his abusive father more than a decade previously, Zach has led a nomadic existence, roaming Europe and has, for the last eight years, been acting as a spy for the British government. The death of his father – an earl – has prompted his return to England so that he can foil his cousin’s plan to have him declared legally dead, so that he – the cousin – can inherit. Zach believes everything will be dealt with quickly and he can return to Europe, but there’s a snag. As soon as he takes his place as the rightful Earl of Wainfleet, he will be arrested for the murder of his stepmother.
Zach has no choice but to remain in England while both situations are resolved – which will, conveniently, give him some time to further his acquaintance with the lovely Jane Chance.
The thing I most enjoyed about this book is the way in which the author has written an actual romance that doesn’t depend on insta-lust or a series of thrown-together sex scenes in an attempt to show the truth of the connection between the hero and heroine. Jane and Zach can only meet during the walks they share in the park, and this felt very realistic, given that at the time the book is set, it was almost impossible for young men and women to meet alone and unchaperoned. Because they meet in public settings, the only thing they can actually do together is TALK to each other, and that, of course, is the perfect way for them to get to know each other properly.
The Spring Bride is an enjoyable and tender romance that’s well-written and suffused with humour and affection.