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~The Accidental Bride~

by Jane Feather

      Heroine:  plump, voluptuous

     Rumpled, romantic Phoebe has the unenviable task of stepping into her late sister's place as wife to the handsome but cold Marquis of Granville, a man more concerned with the civil war outside his home than the battles going on within it.  Phoebe falls in love with her husband and, desperate for him to notice her, turns to her dear friend Portia and stepdaughter Olivia for advice on how to make him love her.

      What worked for me:

      Bright but awkward; longing to be elegant but forever rumpled; Phoebe was just darling!  She was uncomfortable with her generous proportions and hid them under shapeless and ill-fitting gowns which made her seem even larger and more ungainly.  Fortunately her friends take her in hand and teach her to make the most of her voluptuous, womanly figure.

     I enjoyed the camaraderie between Phoebe and the other girls  (who incidentally also have books about them which round out the Brides trilogy) and I particularly enjoyed Phoebe's attempts to get Cato to fall for her.  There was more than one delicious love scene to savor over the course of this book.

       What didn't work for me:

     Phoebe had three stepdaughters: Olivia who was also her best friend, and two by her late sister.  The smallest girls never really factor into the story.  Phoebe neither hates nor loves them, and it's nearly as though they don't even exist. (Though this is true of most aristocratic households.) 

    The villain in the story didn't feel threatening enough for me, being more of a weasel than a wolf.  And the hero Cato felt a bit inaccessible to me.  I would have enjoyed more passages from his point of view, particularly his thoughts on Phoebe and her changes. 

    The witchfinder scene didn't sit well with me either.  One moment Phoebe was in grave danger from the worked up villagers who declared her a witch, and the next her troubles on that head have vanished into thin air on Cato's say-so.  I think there would have been some bad feelings and grumbling after everything that took place.


   A fun read, and I think I may go looking for books 1 and 3 of the trilogy despite the fact that they don't fit in with this reading list.

If you liked "The Accidental Bride" you might also enjoy "Somebody to Love", "Slightly Wicked", "Into Temptation", "Suddenly You", "The Bride and the Beast", "The Fire-Flower", "The Last Days of a Rake", "Unmarriageable", "Cat and the Countess", "The Courtship", or "Enchanting Pleasures".

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