A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When presumptuous Lady Constance Morrow is kidnapped aboard a ship headed for the Americas, loaded to the gills with female and male prisoners as indentured servants, she is certain that upon arrival she will find someone to believe her story. Such is not the immediate case, and she is purchased as a bride by a most reprehensible man who then has the bad fortune to lose her in a game of cards. Constance finds herself then under the ownership of sturdy Master Drew O'Connor who wants no wife. Obviously, God had other plans. Together the two attempt to forge out a new life, particularly since despite both of their wishes, they are bound together in holy matrimony per the laws of the colony.
Deeanne Gist writes what you might call sensual Christian romance. She's not afraid to pronounce sexual attraction between a husband and wife, and though she soundly closes the bedroom door against the reader, she has a fun time with the foreplay. Which, I admit, is refreshing, especially for readers like myself who are bored with books where the beau and his lady are perfectly unmoved by sexual attraction and the accompanying emotions. Deeanne has no such problems, and I commend her for her forthrightness. Some will find her too descriptive, but I found it to be just enough without crossing into impure territory.
Now, as for the story, I admit that it is a little weak. For instance, my suspicious mind doubts that Constance would have made the voyage to America still a maid. Yet, she does. Also, a part of me wishes, however fleetingly, that the book had a counterpart to it, written from the perspective of Drew's brother. Josh has more flaws than his brother, therefore making him more interesting. I like Josh, moral scabs and all, and I wish Deeanne has written a sequel, which it appears she hasn't. Maybe someday she'll indulge Josh and give his story an end.
Speaking of endings, there were aspects of the ending I didn't like. When I pick up a fluffy romance, I don't expect the type of tragedy that climaxes A Bride Most Begrudging. It was a shock, and I really wished she hadn't gone where she did at the end. Still, there were enough unique aspects to Deeanne's writing that kept me fully engrossed from start to finish. I love that Constance is interested in mathematics, and I love all of the little historic bits that Deeanne added to her story, like explaining the mistletoe at Christmas. Her work is charming and I'd say she does for Revolutionary fiction what Karen Witemeyer does for the prairie romance, infuses a bit of life.
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