Publisher: Choc Lit (15 Sep 2013)
Can honour and action banish the shadows of old sins? Emily Micklen has no option after the death of her loving fiance, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn, soldier who represents her only escape from destitution. Major Angus McCartney is tormented by the reproachful slate-grey eyes of two strikingly similar women: Jessamine, his dead mistress, and Emily, the unobtainable beauty who is now his reluctant bride. Emily’s loyalty to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s determination to atone for the past and win his wife with honour and action. As Napoleon cuts a swathe across Europe, Angus is sent to France on a mission of national security, forcing Emily to confront both her allegiance to Jack and her traitorous half-French family. Angus and Emily may find love, but will the secrets they uncover divide them forever?
1813. Emily is reflecting on her father’s beliefs and how Jack has liberated her from the strict confines of her life. She meets Major Angus McCartney on the road who is seeking directions for Micklen Hall, her home. Dressed in one of the two Rifle battalions uniforms, Emily is hoping to see Jack behind him … that hope is soon replaced with grief when a short while later she sees him in her home and he brings the news of Jack’s death. Emily doesn’t know it but from Angus we learn that Jack is not all Emily believes him to be.
Turned out of home by her father, Angus offers her marriage. Still in love with Jack, she does accept his offer because of the situation she is in. She becomes his reluctant bride.
Angus is such a wonderful character! He could tell Emily the truth but not only does he think she wouldn’t believe him, he doesn’t want to gain her love this way. He is so considerate of her, such a ‘gentleman’ with principles (and he’s hot!).
You know when you get that feeling about a character who makes your skin crawl but at that time you have no reason for the way you’re feeling? Stick with it. There is one character who from the beginning didn’t ring true for me.
As Emily and Angus’ relationship change, we get to uncover other secrets … political and familial. This is a time when people wanted to see a Bourbon monarchy reinstated so there is plenty of plotting and falseness. This leads to tension in the UK and adventure in France. Emily undertakes an exciting mission herself to show Major Woodhouse that what he believes is false and that she is loyal.
I loved the way the secrets interlink. A fabulous plot! There is a lot of action besides the romance which kept me turning those pages. I was quite tense at the scene Emily watched from the sliding panel. I wasn’t able to predict the outcome and was eager to find out who …
Add The Reluctant Bride to your reading list if you like your historical romances with action, excitement and suspense.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.