The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

The Autumn Bride

Setting: Regency

Book 1 in Chance Sisters series

Summary:

Governess Abigail Chantry will do anything to save her sister and two dearest friends from destitution, even if it means breaking into an empty mansion in the hope of finding something to sell. Instead of treasures, though, she finds the owner, Lady Beatrice Davenham, bedridden and neglected. Appalled, Abby rousts Lady Beatrice’s predatory servants and—with Lady Beatrice’s eager cooperation—the four young ladies become her “nieces,” neatly eliminating the threat of disaster for all concerned!

It’s the perfect situation, until Lady Beatrice’s dashing and arrogant nephew, Max, Lord Davenham, returns from the Orient—and discovers an impostor running his household…

A romantic entanglement was never the plan for these stubborn, passionate opponents—but falling in love may be as inevitable as the falling of autumn leaves…  

Review:

Another one of my go to favourites, Anne Gracie knows how to write a book that touches the reader emotionally as well as writing stories with realistic characters and situations. I was looking forward to her new series for a while and while I can’t say I was completely blown away, I really enjoyed this first installment in the Chance Sisters series.

The premise might have been a bit too far fetched this time (4 poor unrelated girls are taken in, given new lives and made rich by a total stranger–really??) but then this is a romance novel and not non fiction after all and I loved how fairytale-like it all seemed. Plus, Anne created some intriguing characters in the four girls (one is a maidservant and another is from a brothel!) although I didn’t particularly connect with the heroine of this book. She was a bit too cookie cutter, standard heroine in my opinion. I did love their benefactor Lady Beatrice though and laughed my way through several scenes in this book as well as teared up at the more touching moments between Beatrice and the girls.

My main problem with this book though was that there was too much focus on the whole girls moving in and starting their lives and connecting with Beatrice to have much time for the romance itself between Abby and Beatrice’s nephew Lord Davenham. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading all the scenes between the girls and Beatrice but this is a romance novel and the romance honestly felt quite rushed and it was almost like the author herself just used it as a convenient way to get the rest of the more interesting girls set up in society by hooking one of them with the heir to the estate. I get this is the first book in the series and it has to set the scene for the rest of the series but there was way too much exposition in this book and not enough romance. Actually I felt the book should have been longer. I remember being 30 pages from the end and realizing that the main couple were still in the first stages of their courtship and denying their attraction to each other.

Despite Abby being cookie cutter, there could have been a decent enough romance if it was left to develop a bit further. I enjoyed what I did read but it was just over too fast. Lord Davenham swoops in, spends half the book trying to expose Abby and her sisters as villains trying to take advantage of Beatrice and then realizes he loves her at the very last moment (aka 20 pages from the end) and swoops back in to sweep her off her feet. The End.

Other than that failing, the book was enjoyable and I had a good time reading it. Hopefully with the exposition out of the way now, there will be more focus on the other girl’s romances in the next few books. This was still a worthwhile read with a lot of good moments.

Sensuality Rating: Warm (3/5)

Verdict: Pretty good even if the romance was lacking. A great start to a new series!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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The Accidental Wedding by Anne Gracie

Setting: Regency 1819

Summary:

When Nash Renfrew wakes in the bed of lovely Maddy Woodford, he has no memory. In the days following his accident, he is charmed by her bright outlook on life, but he lives for the nights, when she joins him chastely-more or less-in her bed. When his memory returns, Nash asks for just one more night before he leaves. But it’s one night too many and it creates a scandal that leaves him no choice but to offer her marriage. 

With five orphaned half-siblings in her charge, Maddy needs the security Nash offers and can’t resist the promise of passion she’s experienced in his embrace. Well born, but poverty-stricken, Maddy knows she’s not the wife he planned on, but he’s everything she’s ever dreamed of. 

But will passion be enough? He’s a diplomat who knows Czars and Princes and Grand-dukes and she’s just a country girl who’s never even been to a ball. 

Can their new-found love survive, or will this accidental marriage destroy her dreams and his career?

Click cover for more info!

Review:

Anne Gracie pens another great romance full of tension and emotion. Despite my initial caution over the done-to-death premise, this book ended up being quite a winner!

Anne takes the usual amnesia plot and gives it a fresh twist. The hero is a famous and wealthy diplomat who falls off his horse, hits his head and ends up in the care of a young, impoverished woman with-wait for it-five children under her care. Not exactly the most perfect of matches. Of course the romance would have only worked if he had hit his head and forgotten his own name.

Amnesia plots are one of the most used romance tropes so I thought there could be nothing new in the telling of this story, but I put my faith in Anne’s storytelling abilities. And I’m glad I did because even though the story was too predictable, the characters and the interactions between them made me keep reading. First off, the wonderful heroine Maddy Woodford who’s worked her hard her whole life and is pretty much Cinderella, except with five young siblings. I love how she’s strong, determined and optimistic and yet vulnerable in the sense that she’s been alone for too long. Nash was a great hero too, willing to protect Maddy even though all he wants to do is take her to his bed. 😉 These two were adorable and great together and you just couldn’t help but root for them.

And the children! How adorable they were! They really added to the flavor of the book and I enjoyed reading their interactions with the hero. There’s also a dash of mystery too in a mysterious person who wants to boot Maddy out of her home.

It takes place in the country in England, so not a very exotic setting. And even though Nash is a diplomat, most of the action happens in and around Maddy’s cottage. But Anne’s skill as a storyteller and her great characters made this book hard to put down. There’s a lot of emotion and tension in the books reminiscent of Mary Balogh, only it’s a lot more spicy 😛

Pick this one up if you get the chance. It’s a great alternative on a lazy afternoon. Just don’t start it at night! 😀

Sensuality Rating: Hot ;)

Verdict: Give this one a shot! It’s worth it!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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