(E-arc for review from Sourcebooks)
In this debut Regency, independent Mirabella Whittingham is determined to find the scoundrel who seduced her friend Sarah and drove her to suicide, but Mirabella's only clue to the man's identity is that he bears a scar on his neck. Having consigned herself to spinsterhood ever since her betrothed fled to America, Mirabella see's little harm in kissing a few men and running her fingers beneath their cravats to search for the incriminating mark. Unfortunately, her intended, Viscount Camden Brackley, decides to return to London after six years only to discover that Mirabella in the arms of another man and his family's affairs in shambles. Having been betrayed by his previous fiancée, he appalled to find that Mirabella is no less chaste, and he decides he cannot marry her. The two pretend to remain engaged, however, so that Camden can have time to settle his family's finances and Mirabella can avoid upsetting her ailing father. As they play the betrothed couple and Mirabella secretly continues to root out Sarah's seducer, Camden realizes that he is not immune to Mirabella's charms.
As many of you know, I love historical fiction. When I got the opportunity to review, Never a Bride by Amelia Grey, I was interested to see if she could pull off a good Regency romance since I had never had the opportunity to find out very much about the author. I certainly wasn't disappointed. The development of the two main characters, Mirabella and Camden was excellent. The minor characters were a little less defined but that did not take away from the overall effect of the book. The book had a smooth pace, which didn't seem hurried or rushed. The story unfolds as cross between a romance and a mystery as Mirabella and eventually Camden search for the man who is responsible for Sarah's death. A very good effort.
Mirabella is a spunky young woman who has decided that spinsterhood isn't so bad. She is unconventional and has a knack for seeing through the haze that is part of British High Society. She shocks the "ton" on more than one occasion as she decides the easiest way to find a scar on a man's neck is to kiss him and get her hands under his cravat. An ingenious plan, but it threatens her place in society and the reputation of not only herself but her betrothed who has been in America for six years. Though they had never met formally, Mirabella soon discovers he is the man she had become interested in by accident. She was a refreshing character that is unexpected in Regency romances. She flouted the general rules for women of this time, but it is not a stretch to believe that woman with this sort of attitude existed in those times.
Camden, Mirabella's betrothed, returns to London to find his family fortune in ruins. He decides he cannot take the chance of breaking off his engagement to Mirabella to quickly even after he discovers her in the arms of another man. He needs time to set is affairs in order, but he finds he is incapable of letting her go. He falls victim to her charms and once he begins to forget his past experiences with women and trusts her, he decides to help her in her quest to find Sarah's seducer. He seems a very loyal yet vulnerable character, having been thwarted in love before. He is reluctant to give his heart to someone he is unsure he can trust. It was wonderful seeing the changes in him as the novel progressed.
I liked this one a lot. A great Regency romance with a different sort of punch.
Never a Bride is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Here is some additional information about Amelia Grey.
Amelia Grey (aka Gloria Dale Skinner) grew up in a small town in the Florida panhandle. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over twenty-five years. Amelia has received many awards for her writing including the prestigious Maggie Award and the Romantic Times award for love and laughter. Amelia likes flowers, candlelight, sweet smiles, gentle laughter and sunshine.