Monday, April 25, 2011

A Bartered Bride by Anne Weale

The Bartered Bride (Harlequin Romance #3520)The Bartered Bride by Anne Weale

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I really liked this one. I found the writing fresh and unpretentious. The characters are pretty likable, with realistic viewpoints. For her young age, Francesca has a very good head on her shoulders. She’s a very grounded young woman, and she’s no pushover. I like that she can and does stand up to Reid, who has a very forceful personality.

I appreciated getting Reid’s viewpoint in this story. He thought he had things all figured out. It’s funny that Francesca knows herself better than he does himself, even though he’s more than ten years older than her. She’s comfortable with who she is, and doesn’t need to put on facades or to live up to what other’s expectations of her were. Granted, Reid had a lot more responsibility on his shoulders at a younger age.

However, Francesca’s life wasn’t without its bumps, despite being the daughter of a rich businessman. Her father wasn’t a good father and certainly wasn’t a good husband, despite the outward appearances of being a generous man. He was a cheater, and the whole family knew it. It probably was part of why Francesca was sexually circumspect, although I believe she used her devotion/crush on Julian, the chauffeur’s son as an excuse. Deep down, I don’t think that was really her style, even though she didn’t think of herself as an old-fashioned girl.

Only one thing bugged me about this book: Reid was pretty mean and unreasonable when he found out Francesca was a virgin. I mean, really? Are you that upset that your wife didn’t sleep around? In his words, he wasn’t looking forward to teaching her the sexual ropes. He wasn’t very nice about it, either. I think that Francesca handled it pretty well, taking his immaturity about that in stride. I think Reid needed to get over himself, and he did, with Francesca’s coaxing, thankfully.

A WTH moment was for me when he expected Francesca to sleep with him in his stuffy grandmother’s house before they were married. I think that would kill any girl’s libido, but that’s just me. In many ways, Reid was such a guy, for a banker type. But it turns out that he’s a lot more than that. I like the way hints are dropped about Reid being more than just a stuffy businessman throughout the story. Francesca and the reader come to a conclusion that Reid is more than he appears to be, and we turn out to be right.

I’m not sure I’ve read a lot of Anne Weale, but I forsee reading more of her books in my future. I found this book definitely worth my time. She’s a good writer.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

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