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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

Janna MacGregor just got herself another fan! There's a bit of a lull in the middle of this one but it's too charming not to enjoy!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 2, 2017

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...

What’s it About? Lady Claire has had three broken engagements and now her fourth seems to be heading in the same direction. She’s desperate to escape society’s talk about a curse that seems to keep her from getting married, so when Alexander, Lord Pembroke announces that Claire is going to marry HIM, she doesn’t contradict him. After all, a husband is a husband right? However, Alexander has his reasons for wanting to marry Claire, he wants revenge on the man Claire’s fiancée and he’ll do anything to get it but he wasn’t counting on Claire being everything he never knew he wanted.

Overall reaction to the story? The premise of the story caught my attention but it was Janna MacGregor’s uncanny talent for crafting a passionate romance built on a revenge plot that kept my attention. I had a few issues with the book though, mostly with the middle part of the story. It was slow and I was given the impression that a couple of months had passed for Alex and Claire during yet it had only been two weeks! In those two weeks it was a lot of repetitive behavior, they get close, then have a setback, get close, have a setback, etc. I think too much time was spent on that will they or won’t they dance without any real progress in their relationship until closer to the end. I did think more attention and resolution should have been applied to Claire’s inner demons so that by the end I would have felt more convinced that she had come to terms with her past and that curse nonsense. However, I did enjoy the story overall. Janna MacGregor is a talented romance author and I am definitely invested in this series.

Describe the hero in five words: Determined. Hurting. Intelligent. Kind. Charming.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Alex’s reason for wanting revenge is completely justifiable and while he wants to make sure Claire’s fiancée pays for what he did, Alex is also feeling extremely guilty for the role he unknowingly played. To me he has a depth of emotions that isn’t common for heroes in historical romance. Alex is brooding and a tad touchy when the subject of his revenge plot comes up but he quickly becomes protective of Claire and never treats her as an object or merely a pawn in his plans though Claire later believes he did just that. I loved Alex; he was caring and considerate of the people in his care and a total charmer when he managed to push thoughts of his past out of his mind.

Describe the heroine in five words: Insecure. Kind. Intelligent. Fun. Strong.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Claire was made of strong stuff when it came to dealing with the gossip about a supposed curse on her yet at the same time she was so insecure when it came to her relationship with Alex. I actually enjoyed the two conflicting sides of her because it made her more interesting, more realistic. I love how even when she was at her most insecure, Claire didn’t become a simpering, needy mess. I mean she wanted love, children, and a family but she never became obsessed to the point of annoying. I could see where she was coming from and in the beginning I felt bad for her and I loved her for doing her best with what she had available to her.

Let’s talk about the romance: Alex and Claire had an almost instant connection from the moment they met but the romance took a while to form which was fine with me. Under the circumstances, an insta-love would have ruined it. The gradual build of affection and trust mixed with the already present physical attraction was exactly what these two characters needed. I will say that the sexual tension and buildup promised more than what was actually delivered in terms of sexy times. To me they fell a little flat when compared to the buildup. Other than that I loved the relationship between these two and how MacGregor took the time to make them get to know one another.

How about that supporting cast? Claire came from a very warm and loving family and I loved that The Bad Luck Bride didn’t leave out those funny scenes between Claire and her three cousins or the touching ones between Claire and her aunt and uncle. With those scenes I understood her more, I knew why she wanted a family of her own and wanted to be part of Alex’s family as someone they could love. Alex had an implied close knit relationship with his mother and sister Daphne and a best friend he could count on in Nicholas St. Mauer, the Earl of Somerton. All of these characters are ones I’d love to know more about, especially Claire’s cousins who seem like charming troublemakers.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Even with the slow middle and somewhat tame sex scenes, The Bad Luck Bride is such a promising start to a series from a new-to-me-author. I can’t wait for more from Janna MacGregor.

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