Please ignore both the clunky title and the trashy blurb! I liked this book a lot!
Ex-soldier Frederick Challenger may own a share of London’s most secret gentlemen’s club, but he has long since stopped sampling its delights…until a beautiful woman auctions her innocence.
Georgiana Knight’s plan had been to lure in a villain, but instead she’s trapped the devil himself. And now, to protect her reputation, she must marry him! But if Frederick has hopes of taming this temptress, he’ll have to think again…
A Convenient Bride for the Soldier by Christine Merrill
I really liked this book, and read it very quickly. It develops the friendship and then love between hero and heroine slowly, and shows real character growth. It’s also full of great historical expressions – and funny.
However, I practically groaned when A Convenient Bride for the Soldier came up for review and I read the blurb. The “virginity auction” is likely THE most ridiculous of all historical romance tropes. On the other hand, I trust the Harlequin Historical line to almost always to deliver a great read, and the author’s name was familiar to me, so I dived in.
The heroine of this one is naïve in some ways, and far more worldly than she is given credit for in others. Young – nineteen – she is frustrated with her innocence (not her virginity; her ignorance of so many things in the world). And it is not helped by everyone treating her like a child and a bother to be handed off to someone else.
I loved that she was age-appropriate, and also liked her because no matter how much everyone, especially the hero at first, tried to “tame” her out of her personality, she was determined to cling to it.
The hero was interesting because he was sometimes hard to like. His life has shaped him into a very rigid, rule-following man (despite the club he runs), and he historically-accurately expects the wife he never wanted to fall into line.
However he has a strong moral code and sometimes finds himself slipping. Even though he is older than the heroine it is he who has to grow the most.
It was also great that the author resisted the temptation to tie up either characters’ family situation in too many bows.
There was so much fun in amongst all of this. It wasn’t slapstick, but it was funny. I laughed at a few points in this (the bird!), usually at the dry, offhand comments.
I also loved the language, and by that I mean that the author peppered her book with archaic terms without making it impossible to understand. Even though I knew otherwise, I went back to check because the prose (apart from a couple of teeny slip-ups) read as if it was written by a Brit.
Despite the promises of the blurb, this is not a book filled with sex; as I said, the relationship takes LOTS of time to develop. However, hero and heroine are on the page together almost the entire book, so it’s not like there’s a lack of romance. In fact, I don’t always love it when the two are in most scenes together, and yet I enjoyed both of them so much I really liked it here.
This was one of the review books I’m going to buy my own copy of, so I guess that’s a strong endorsement.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.