Damaris Chance’s unhappy past has turned her off the idea of marriage forever. But her guardian, Lady Beatrice Davenham, convinces her to make her coming out anyway – and have a season of carefree, uncomplicated fun.
When Damaris finds herself trapped in a compromising situation with the handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes, she has no choice but to agree to wed him – as long as it’s in name only. Her new husband seems to accept her terms, but Freddy has a plan of his own: to seduce his reluctant winter bride.
Will Damaris’s secrets destroy her chance at true happiness? Or can Freddy help her cast off the shackles of the past, and yield to delicious temptation?
He saw four smartly dressed females advancing toward him, smiling.
The hairs on the back of his neck rose. Why the devil were they grinning at him like that? What did they know? What did they want?
I started reading this as a review book, but got half a chapter in and realised something:
This book can be read on its own. HOWEVER, there is clearly a wonderful story in the first book, and it’s better to read in order.
So that’s what I did. I put The Winter Bride aside, bought, read and fell in love with the first book in the series – the recently announced RITA Award finalist The Autumn Bride – and am very glad I did.
I recently saw a reader comment that Anne Gracie is a really underrated author of historical romance. I would agree (though I think she’s not that underrated – she has many fans!). Even though there’re many light-hearted scenes and conversations in her books, the thing that makes her a better author than most is that she delves deeper into the Regency era than glittering ballrooms. In fact, two books into the series, and there still hasn’t been a ball.
Gracie is proof Regency romance doesn’t need to die. There’s so much more of that time period that could be explored.
Damaris and Freddy are perfect for each other. Sure, in this book there’re plenty of familiar Regency romance tropes. They don’t want to get married; they want independence; they get stranded together in bad weather.
HOWEVER… they all seem fresh here. The scenes and situations sparkle.
I also love Gracie’s take on the historical romance hero, because even if they’re “tortured” in some ways, they’re also so caring and so much fun to read about.
One thing – the only thing – that struck me as odd was how much hand-shaking was going on. It wasn’t usual for people to shake hands in greeting or farewell in Regency England (I’ve checked so many resources on Regency manners on this, because it’s quite a common niggle in romances set in this era).
For example, the script for the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice had to be edited because the writers originally had characters shaking hands. The people reviewing the script left the comment that it had to go because it would have been ‘very odd’ for characters to do it.
But that’s the one thing.
I really do love this series, and am more than a little annoyed that I can’t yet find any information on the next two books!
Additionally: I know we’re not supposed to comment on the quality of the review copy, but I have this to say. This is a book set in England, written by an Australian author and handed out by an Australian publisher. Why in the world was it edited into American English? Very distracting!
Review copy provided by NetGalley.