The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell

December 3, 2014 Reviews 15

The Bride Says No by Cathy MaxwellThe Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell
Series: The Brides of Wishmore #1
Published by Avon on January 28, 2014
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Length: 7 hours 24 minutes
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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.

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.

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!

4 stars Pretty Great

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About Cathy Maxwell

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the mystery of life and the secret to happiness.

She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

15 Responses to “The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell”

  1. Bookworm Brandee

    Oh man, now I have you AND Lexxie tempting me to read HR! I think you know how I feel about Regency era settings. 😉 I’m liking the sound of The Bride Says No – I’m curious as to what happened to Aileen and her dreams. Great review, Berls. I’ll put this on my list to Santa! 😉
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**That’s What HE Said ~ #19**My Profile

    • Berls

      She came to a local signing and was so much fun. At that point I’d already read this book and that’s when I bought the others. Definitely recommend it 🙂

    • Berls

      I went through a bit of a historical dry spell myself, so I was happy to find one that I really enjoyed. Cathy Maxwell is definitely a favorite now 🙂

    • Berls

      I can definitely see that. I’m a historian, but for an earlier period and I do know that this sort of thing happened more often than you’d expect in medieval Europe, but o can’t speak for the regency era. Which is probably why I like it best – some ignorance actually can be bliss! Lol!

    • Berls

      Agreed. As much as we read, I think it will be pretty difficult to make something that isn’t somewhat predictable. I think that’s why I’m such a character reader.

    • Berls

      Thanks Jonetta! I had heard about Cathy Maxwell before, but now that I’ve read her, she’s on my list of go-to authors I think. Plus I got to meet her and she’s so fun!

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