Anne Mallory's THE BRIDE PRICE
reminds me of what I love about historical romances.
Sebastien Deville has always been on
the fringes of acceptable society. As an illegitimate son
of a duke, Sebastien has lived his life mostly to torment
his father and half-brother. And the perfect opportunity
arises - the King has endorsed a competition for third sons
and bastards to win a viscountcy, land and a well-born woman
as a bride.
Caroline Martin is a woman haunted by
past mistakes. When she finds out about the competition and
that her companion, Lady Sarah, is to be the bride, Caroline
is shocked and horrified. She decides the only way to get
through some ignoble competition is to sabotage it so that
the best possible candidate wins. But who could that be in
such a motley lot?
When Caroline and Sebastien meet, the
sparks fly. But how can a notorious rake and a
buttoned-down widower ever be together? Especially if he
wins the competition and marries Lady Sarah?
I loved the unusual premise. I tend to
like books with impossible situations, where the suspense is
not so much “Will they get together?” but, “HOW will they
get together in such an impossible situation?” There are a
few parts that are a bit awkward (limbs bending in
impossible ways, trees turning into stone benches and back
in the scene, etc.) and the ending is a bit rushed, but
overall, I thoroughly enjoyed THE BRIDE PRICE.