18 March, 2017

The Bride Wore Blue (The Brides of Bath Book 1) by Cheryl Bolen #review


Pages -  322
First Published -  Kensington, 2002
Re-Issued -  Nov 23, 2013
Amazon Digital Services LLC
Genre -  Historical Romance, Regency
Series -  The Brides of Bath (1 of 5)
Style -  3rd Person
Sexual Content -  2/5

For six long years Thomas Moreland has dreamed of the beautiful young noblewoman who rescued him from death. While amassing his fortune in India, not a day passed he did not recall Felicity's fair loveliness, did not recall the silken tones of her sweet voice, did not desire to possess her.
Now a widow, Felicity Harrison does not recognize the handsome nabob as the young man left for dead by highwayman years earlier. Though she wants nothing more than to snub the arrogant man who promises to rescue her family from financial ruin in exchange for presenting his sister to Society, she cannot snub him. She must force herself to bear his company. But the longer she is with him, the more she has to force herself to remain true to her dead husband's memory. Why is it the humbly born Thomas Moreland possesses more nobility that any man of her class? And why is it she finds it harder and harder to mourn a dead man when Thomas's virility awakens her deepest desires?

Another re-written Regency Romance originally published back in 2002 but re-worded in 2013 to soothe the savage BEAST in today's pissy reader.

But, I won't rant this time.

I'm over it.

Can't win, but that never means I'm ready and willing to join the sheeple.

And, of the 455 reviews, 84 were disapproving, including another one of these:

Most of what the negative reviewers said was the same thing, that it was predictable, repetitive, and that the heroine was a wishy-washy, stuck-up ditz.

I would agree with the latter, but I wouldn't go so far as to refer to her as one genius reviewer did: a racist because she wasn't pleased to learn via malicious lie rumor that the H had lain with an Indian woman and had spawned a lot of dark babies.

Unlike most others, I know it is deemed a racist thought today, but hardly the case back in early 1800s England.

I won't fault the author for inserting it into her work because it's honest and era-appropriate.

This IS a Regency Romance and not a Contemporary, by the way, although it was re-written to placate today's sophisticated, prejudiced, biased, and narrow-minded reader.

Which is probably why the author is accused of repetition and predictability.

Makes me laugh.

2002 wasn't so long ago that this would need any updating, is it?

Holy Cripe!

I guess the answer to this dilemma would be for me to search a little deeper into these novels, discover if there is an original out there, and read that instead.

Anyway, about the book.

Loved Thomas and his many charming assets.

The author did a great job of describing the two leads so that I could easily picture them inside my head as I read their story.

He's cute, reasonable, upstanding, and charitable while also being tall, dark, and extremely handsome.

Felicity, on the other hand, left something to be desired: mainly a personality.

She flip-flopped about too many things, jumped to too many conclusions, and treated the Colonel far better than he deserved even knowing he had a screw loose while treating Thomas far worse than he deserved even knowing how kind, charitable, and decorous he behaved.

And all because the Colonel was one of them and Thomas wasn't.

I could see it being the case had Felicity been a 20 year-old just entering Society in search of a husband, but she wasn't and is a widow of 4 years instead.

So, why she had to continue to keep up the chastity pretense and fall apart just daydreaming about having sex with the handsome hunk is beyond me.

The plot and the premise were good, and the very start of the novel was terrific, with terrific writing and the author's ability to remain within the time period being up there with a few of the greats.

Then something happened (probably the forced re-write) and the story started to fall apart.

The fact that a 'lady' in upper crust Regency society would choose to wear the same dress for days on end "because Thomas likes it" is not only wrong but impossible for a lady AND the era.

One afternoon spent promenading around Bath and the gown would be unwearable without a good cleaning... which never occurred because the author made sure to tell us that the gown was removed and hung up... retrieved from the wardrobe and worn, then removed and hung up... day after day!

How gross!

Also not sure what happened toward the end when, after Thomas had told us he had wanted so badly to take Felicity for his own but not anywhere other than a bed fit for a Queen that he ends up doing the exact opposite at an ancient Roman Ruins site about an hour from Bath.

During a picnic with all of their friends and relatives nearby.

Completely out of character and an instance I'd awaited with hope and then ended up being disappointed in because of the 180 in his upstanding comportment.

Yes, the sinister Colonel as the creepy antagonist gave me the woollies some of the time, but I don't mind his having been included in the story because I happen to enjoy antagonism in any romance novel.

Good or bad, and for the era in which this took place, I found nothing unusual or overboard about him or his behavior.

Again, by today's standards, yes, he'd be considered Evil Incarnate and everyone would wish him dead, but back then it wasn't uncommon nor unheard of for men (especially men of means) to behave this way due to the self-absorbed nature of their personality and upbringing.

Sorry, but back then men were revered, and men of means were excused!

As for the author's style, it was comfortable and stuck to the time period for the most part, but with too much insertion of modern-day mentality to ruin it for me... along with the cropping up of type-o's and such as the chapters went on.

The disconnect between Felicity and Thomas came in her behaving too much like a virgin and his behaving far too above his station.

I know that was probably a plot devise meant to aid the reader in accepting Felicity's eventual decision to fall in love with an untitled man, but it felt as if the author went overboard with the dichotomy aspect... making Thomas read more like a titled gentleman and Felicity more like a young virgin of low birth.

There were a few sexual encounters, but this can be considered a relatively clean read with very little in the skimming over the vulgar language and gratuitous sex scenes department.

This is Book One in a Five-Part The Brides of Bath Series, and yes, I would recommend them to anyone interested in finding and reading the original publications and not these ridiculous re-writes.

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