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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