Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

~"Delightful....A romantic winner." --Kirkus 
Four young women face a life of destitution—until a daring act changes their fortune and turns them each into a beautiful bride. In 
The Winter Bride, a compromising situation leads to an unexpected wedding and delicious temptation....

Damaris Chance’s unhappy past has turned her off the idea of marriage forever. But her guardian, Lady Beatrice Davenham, convinces her to make her coming out anyway—and have a season of carefree, uncomplicated fun. 
When Damaris finds herself trapped in a compromising situation with the handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes, she has no choice but to agree to wed him—as long as it’s in name only. Her new husband seems to accept her terms, but Freddy has a plan of his own: to seduce his reluctant winter bride. 
Will Damaris’s secrets destroy her chance at true happiness? Or can Freddy help her cast off the shackles of the past, and yield to delicious temptation? 

Published & Release Date: Entangled, Scandalous, November 10, 2014

Time and setting: 1816 England

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s musings

I am so pleased I had the opportunity to read The Winter Bride. A friend asked me to read it because she received it to judge for the Rita. Since she is in the midst of edits, she feared she would not have time. I immediately said yes. Historical Regency romance is my favorite genre, and I have read other books by Ms. Gracie. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story. This is the second book in the Chance Sisters series, and I will definitely be reading book one.

Freddie Monkton-Coombes is best man at Max, Lord Davenham’s wedding. On the eve of the wedding, Max asks him to keep an eye on his bride’s sisters. Freddie is the last man on earth that should be guarding tender young misses. He is a known rake, but Max tells him that is the very reason he wants Freddie, who better than a rake, to watch over innocents and keep them out of the clutches of another rake. There is another problem. Damaris Chance disturbs him in ways he prefers not to examine too closely.

While Freddie is a confirmed bachelor, determined to never marry, Damaris is just as determined to remain single. When Freddie’s parents plan a house party and invite all the muffins (eligible young ladies) in town who are constantly chasing after him, he becomes desperate and hatches a plan. If Damaris will pretend she is his betrothed, then he will buy her a cottage in the country close to Davenham Hall, which is Damaris’ dream.

This starts a delightfully witty romp. While The Winter Bride is a light-hearted read on the surface, the story has much more depth than is usually found in romantic comedy. Freddie has a great deal of emotional pain and guilt over the death of his brother and is estranged from his parents, only visiting them one day a year on the anniversary of George’s death.

Damaris has her secrets as well and these secrets are tied to her determination to never marry. As the story unfolds, Ms. Gracie uses a masterful touch as she sprinkles in what these secrets are. The pain Damaris feels is deeply moving and when I learned what had happened to her, it moved me to tears.
She also does an excellent job of building suspense in the sense that I became thoroughly enmeshed in the story, turning the pages on my Kindle as fast as possible, impatiently waiting for this emotionally-charged tale to reveal the hero and heroine’s secrets. Most times when I think of suspense, it usually involves situations of high adventure and lots of action.  

This is a beautifully written story that ran the gambit of emotions for me. At times, I laughed out loud, especially at the experimental Chinese swimming pigs, and at other times my heart ached, especially when Freddie shows Damaris his family portrait gallery.

I do wish I had read The Autumn Bride first and suggest that you start with it first, not that this is confusing, it is easily a stand alone. I highly recommend this beautiful story and can’t wait for Jane and Daisy’s stories. Happy reading!

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