Series: The Brides of Wishmore #1
Published by Avon on January 28, 2014
Genres: Historical, Romance
Length: 7 hours 24 minutes
The Bride Says No was a book club selection that I ended up loving. After finishing The Bride Says No, I almost immediately picked up copies of the other two books in the series.
Lady Aileen never thought she’d be in this position—falling in love with her sister’s betrothed! Of course, her sister did run away rather than marry him, and he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in her sister either, but even so, such a match is impossible...isn’t it?
Aileen is certain she must turn away from the man she loves in order to protect her sister’s reputation. However, he’s not one to give up without a fight, and now that he’s met a woman he wants to marry, nothing on earth could convince him to let Aileen go.
As much as I like Victorian historicals, I’m a sucker for the regency era. So already The Bride Says No was at an advantage. And even though the story was somewhat predictable, I loved the characters and breezed through The Bride Says No in just a few sittings.
When we meet Aileen, she’s leaving her small Scottish town and her sister Tara for London to spend a season in search of a groom. She’s young and idealistic, planning to find love and return home happy. We skip ahead several years, to a new Aileen – one who has lost her belief in love. We don’t know all the details off the bat, but my heart immediately went out to her. Its so relatable – even if you haven’t been burnt by love, I think most of us know something about disappointment as we grow older and dreams don’t quite work out the way we would have liked.
I so wanted Aileen to find happiness, especially as I got to know her. She’s a genuinely good person, so incredibly self-sacrificing. You see it in the way she cares for her sister, the things she would give up, and the way the servants care for her. She’s not weak either – the things she’s lived through could have crushed a weaker woman (in ANY time, but even more so back then) but she’s remarkably resilient.
I admit, I got really fed up with Aileen’s sister Tara. How Aileen could be so incredibly selfless and have such an incredibly selfish sister confounded me for a while. But as The Bride Says No unfolded, I started to understand Tara better and, while she’s not my favorite character YET, I did see growth and see the potential for lots more as the series progresses. Like her sister, Tara is a strong woman and that quality could take her a long way yet.
Maxwell is a contradiction of sorts. On one hand, he behaves very much like I would have expected of a Regency Lord. And yet he’s an illegitimate son – raised and treated as a bastard until he made his own way in the world. He has a lot he thinks he needs to prove and marrying Tara is the next step. Too bad she doesn’t love him – hence the title The Bride Says No.
I really enjoyed seeing this tangled web get messier and messier, wondering when and how it would fix itself. It was a fun romance and it ended on a bit of a twist, so I’m eager to see what happens next!