The Wayward Bride by Daphne Clair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a surprisingly poignant vintage Harlequin Presents. I didn't expect the depths of anguish that Trista was hiding. I think that it's a good lesson about how people are judged because of what people assume about them. People had pegged Trista as a spoiled rich girl who refused to grow up. Who toyed with men out of boredom. But her actions were the result of deep, unresolved hurt.
Pierce is a good hero. While he attempted to maintain a distance from Trista, he couldn't help falling in love with her. He plays some emotional games to an extent to protect himself from being ripped to shreds like Trista's other suitors. But when the cards fall, he shows her the love and understanding that she truly needed.
I can't say what Trista's issues were without spoiling this book. And truly it's worth delving in to explore her character for the reader. Pierce is a more betaish hero, which is great. I like beta heroes a lot, and he's the best kind of hero for a wounded soul like Trista.
While Harlequin Presents can be dramatic and intense, sometimes the depth isn't there. In this case, there is not a lot of drama but a lot of emotional depth. For a short novel, Clair does a lot of character exploration and with very complex characterization, and delivers a very satisfying book that was also in its own way thought-provoking. I'd recommend seeking this one out to Vintage Harlequin Presents fans and collectors.
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