Wednesday, August 1, 2012

His Mistletoe Bride by Vanessa Kelly

This book contains characters from previous books by this author. Having never read those other ones before, I was still able to enjoy this story. To fully appreciate this story, you have to understand the main characters. Phoebe Linville comes from a Quaker community in America. Her mother was born in England and part of the aristocracy but met, fell in love with, and married somebody from a completely different world. Her parents were happy together but after their death Phoebe felt more strongly that she did not belong in her given environment. When word comes from her maternal grandfather in England that he wishes to meet her and for her to embrace her mother's family, she is thrilled. Although she loves her brother, she feels drawn to England and whatever that may bring. She also yearns for a family connection to provide what she lost by losing her parents. She is surprised to find, when she gets to England, that her grandfather is dead and that his last wishes were for her to live with her maternal relatives and marry Major Lucas Stanton. Lucas is a distant cousin whom Phoebe's grandfather thought would help provide for and protect her. Lucas has a tangled past. When he was a young man, he competed with one of his relatives over the affections of a great beauty. In the end, the woman chose neither man and married someone else. The damage that she left in her wake created a huge rift in Lucas and Stephen's relationship. Lucas threw himself into military life to forget his troubles. It's an older and slightly bitter Lucas that Phoebe first meets. She is a little attracted to him, but worries that his military lifestyle and past family estrangements have made him a man too quick to anger. Lucas is more and more captivated by Phoebe each day. He enjoys her personality and finds her very beautiful. He is just wary of being in a woman's thrall after his last experience. The main source of conflict in this book is, after their marriage, they find themselves on opposite sides of the local smuggling issue. I liked watching their relationship evolve and how the characters developed over time. I was satisfied with the ending and am looking forward to reading the earlier books in this series.

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