Blackwater Brides #2
by Jane Feather
Mass Market Paperback, 447 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Pocket
Courtesy of publisher
New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather again delights with her new book in this entrancing Georgian trilogy featuring three noble brothers who are offered a preposterous opportunity to restore their family’s mortgaged lands. An eccentric uncle promises a lavish inheritance, but only if each marries—thus redeeming—a fallen woman. And if even one brother fails to fulfill the old man’s decree, none will gain the windfall.
Lady Serena Grantley was born to the nobility, but fortune's whim placed her in control of her gamester stepfather, who uses her beauty to lure young men to his gambling tables. Serena even dismissed her first love, the Honorable Sebastian Sullivan, at her stepfather's command. But when he attempts to force her into a liaison with a dissolute earl, Serena resolves to do his bidding no more. Sebastian is the only man who ever captured her heart, and it is to him she turns. . . .Torn between family loyalty and the woman he loves, Sebastian faces a devilish dilemma. His uncle is ailing, and time is running short. Desperate to find a solution, Sebastian conceives a dangerous plan—a wager that could bring him and Serena happiness at last . . . or separate them forever.
A despicable uncle set on revenge challenges the three Blackwater brothers to find wives who are fallen women to marry in order to inherit his vast fortune. Penniless and facing debtor’s prison the brothers have no other choice but to each find a disreputable bride that fits their uncle’s standards.
A Wedding Wager is the second novel in the Blackwater Bride’s trilogy and focuses on the middle brother, and twin, Sebastian.
Sebastian thought he was in love with the darkly beautiful Lady Serena and that his feelings were returned until the day that she abruptly turned him away and left the country. He fell into deep despair for quite some time and has avoided a relationship since. Now, three years later, Sebastian encounters Serena at one of her stepfather’s Gaming Hells and despite his anger; he cannot deny that he still loves her. Devising a plan to win Serena’s heart, he is determined to find out the truth of that long ago day, but will Serena ever trust him enough to give it to him? And even if she does, can Sebastian convince her to leave her stepfather’s control?
This was a great stand-alone, the second in a trilogy, I jumped right in without reading the first book. I didn’t feel lost or confused at all and the crux of the trilogy was well laid out. It was my first read from author Jane Feather and I can now understand her popularity in historical romances, her writing easily immerses the reader into the time period.
However, this is a hard one to review. The plot itself was slow moving and the characters lacked dimension. I wanted to like the hero, Sebastian, but he had little depth. The heroine, Serena outshined him on every page, though he was honorable, courageous and charming. The tiffs him and Serena got into just seemed childish and out of place.
Serena was a very strong character and easily admirable but I was turned off by the fact that she was never completely upfront with Sebastian, her supposed love. Even in the end. She would also constantly blame him for his opinions or look down on him for his emotions in situations where she was less then truthful, which I did not find fair and led me to view her decision making as questionable. Their loves scenes together were also luke warm and I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the two.
The subplots did add an interesting element though, and the dialogue with Miss Abigail was entertaining, however, I did not care for her mother one whit but I think that was the point.
Jasper, the Earl of Blackwater, seems rather interesting and I would read the first novel in this trilogy if I ever had the free time. I found Sebastian’s twin, Perry, as rather a dry character though and uninteresting.
I would say that if you enjoy light historical romances that are heavily descriptive you will like this one, or if you are already a fan of Ms. Feather. But if you prefer more action, suspense and steamy romance you may want to skip A Wedding Wager.
Rating: 3 Wine Glasses