All were shocked at the announcement of the “cursed” Lady Claire Cavensham to Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, especially since she is already engaged to another unfortunate Lord. Perhaps she will make it to the altar this time with one of these fine gentlemen! —Midnight Cryer
No one is left breathless at the imperious pronouncement of her engagement to Lord Pembrooke more than Claire. She hardly knows the dangerously outrageous man! But after three engagements gone awry and a fourth going up in glorious flames, she isn’t in a position to refuse...
Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancée in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper...
“Full-bodied romance...with intelligence and heart."—Cathy Maxwell
"Captivating characters and a romance that sizzles."—Eloisa James
"Will leave you swooning."—Sabrina Jeffries
The Bad Luck Bride is the first in a new Regency romance series from Janna MacGregor!
Debut author MacGregor brings England's Regency era to life in this sparkling launch for the Cavensham Heiresses romance series. Lady Claire, the daughter of a duke, was orphaned at a young age when a carriage accident claimed the lives of her parents. When her fourth attempt at an engagement, this time with unlikable Lord Paul, ends in disaster like the previous three, London's gossips compound her survivor's guilt by declaring her cursed. She's saved from the worst of them by the timely intervention of Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, one of Lord Paul's childhood friends. The pair seems to get on well, despite their inauspicious beginning, but they are both struggling with secrets: Alex's thirst for revenge against Paul, who mistreated his sister, and Claire's nightmares of her parents' deaths. This charming tale features a refreshing array of happy families, solid relationships, and candid portrayals of realistic reactions to adverse events. The lack of trust and communication between the principal characters sometimes feels contrived, but the book's promise of a delicious story is well realized, building anticipation for future installments.
finding this one promising even as it didn’t feel as fully realized as I would have hoped.
3.5 Stars Rounded
As I started off, I was thrown by the development of the hero in Alex: vengeful, determined and more than a bit controlling, he was a character that I instantly found dislikable and while I appreciated MacGregor’s attempt to bring a deeply flawed and wounded character to redemption, I had reservations. And then I met Claire: constantly thinking of herself as cursed, with yet another engagement exploding in a most unusual way: with the rather mousey and innocuous introduction, I didn’t see compelling, and worried that Alex would be one who manipulated and reframed So the whole “curse” passed me by, unless one is referring to it in terms of social position, and there, Claire is cursed with being a woman at a time when her purpose in life is to marry well, and personal choice is not an option.
So we move on and at about the 50% mark the story started to show great flashes of promise in the writing: complex ideas, a bit more character development and the backstories are slowly revealed and bring an option to find more depth in the characters than in my initial impressions. But, the continued “we’ll discuss this later” moments, combined with constant interruptions from others, all playing out against Alex’s continued manipulation of situations and Claire: lying to her, watching her to “help her” (ick) and never really listening just rubbed me wrong. Claire was equally to blame, whether the attention (when she got it) from Alex is what she wanted, or she was just so ingrained to be “married” that she was willing to convince herself that she felt love for him – I missed that connection or those moments from Alex that didn’t feel proscribed or convenient. And when Alex’s duplicity is discovered, and everything that Claire thought was solid dissolved into ash, she leaves - a completely understandable reaction and one that moved her from mouse to kitten. Of course, Alex has his epiphany and realizes he loves her beyond measure, but the damage done early on just didn’t seem to allow for this option to me. Sure, it’s fiction and meant to end in a happy ever after, love you forever moment – but with all of the twists, the deception and the bad behavior –I wasn’t convinced.
As a debut offering, it showed promise, although it decidedly left room for improvement: a few plot holes and perhaps a few too many twists and interruptions as the couple’s connection should have been more palpable and believable, with Alex’s realization that his actions and behavior are in need of adjustment did not come soon enough, and I felt as though his realizations were too little and more about his losing than realizing his behavior pushed her away, and he needed to change that before making new attempts. Story flow was uneven, starting with a bit of a bang, the back and forth and twists dragged on – where I expected development and palpable emotions I didn’t find it, and the story didn’t really bring those moments where I needed to know what came next. There is promise here, as MacGregor can write a wonderful description, and does integrate historic norms and information with flair, her conversations are solid and the secondary characters did arrive with enough intrigue to know more, all good things when looking for a new author. I’m curious about the next book in the series, finding this one promising even as it didn’t feel as fully realized as I would have hoped.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I wish I could reclaim the time I spent reading this sophomoric drivel.
Bad Luck can be good
I found this a very unusual book. The characters were very strong and true to life. When we learned the childhood secret of the female main character, I actually cried! It was very moving. I was so happy with the epilogue.