Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Confessions of an Improper Bride by Jennifer Haymore


Serena Donovan left London six years ago, her heart broken and her reputation ruined by devilishly handsome Jonathan Dane. Now, with her family's future in peril, she reluctantly agrees to return to England and assume her late twin's identity. The price? Marry a man she doesn't love and spend the rest of her days living a lie.

Jonathan Dane, Earl of Stratford, has become an incorrigible rake, drinking, gambling-and trying to forget Serena Donovan. Yet the moment he's introduced to the prim and proper "Meg", he recognizes the sensual young woman who captured his heart. Haunted by his past mistakes, he refuses to lose Serena again. But convincing her to trust him is no easy task. Claiming his lost love means exposing the truth and destroying the life Serena has sacrificed everything to rebuild. With the future of all the Donovans at stake, and their undying passion capable of triggering yet another scandal, how much will Jonathan and Serena risk for a chance at true love?

Given that I've loved Ms. Haymore's three previous historical romances with such fervor, I was surprised to find I wasn't immediately loving Confessions of an Improper Bride.  Now that I've had time to reflect, I think the deception angle really affected my enjoyment.  It's the main plot -- how is Serena going to marry a man she doesn't love, especially when the man she does love is her intended's best friend? -- so it's unfortunate I had issues with it.  I felt that Langley would be a cuckold, and he didn't deserve such treatment because he is such a nice man. Serena and Jonathan, however, could not deny their attraction, the very reason Serena left London in disgrace six years earlier, yet their happy ending didn't leave me 100% happy. 

Heroines sacrificing themselves for the good of their siblings is not an uncommon trope, especially in historical romances (Seven Nights to Forever by Evangeline Collins comes to mind immediately).  Something about Confessions of an Improper Bride seemed off .  I could put it down with ease, which I'd never experienced with Ms. Haymore's previous work. 

Despite my lukewarm feelings about this novel, I am excited to pick up the next book in the series, Secrets of an Accidental Duchess (February 2012). 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Confessions of an Improper Bride.)

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