Sep 7, 2014

Wonderful by Cheryl Holt (Reluctant Brides Trilogy #3)

Wonderful by Cheryl Holt
Genre: Historical Romance
Bottom Line: Too similar to the previous two novels for my liking. My hopes for a good hero were dashed once again.

Reluctant Brides Trilogy
1.  Wicked
2.  Wanton
3.  Wonderful

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Evangeline Etherton loved her years as a teacher at Miss Peabody’s School for Girls. But with Miss Peabody’s passing, the school is shut down, and Evangeline is on her way to marry a fiancĂ© she’s never met. She never imagined herself as a bride and is reluctant to abandon the independent life she enjoyed as an unwed female. When she meets her betrothed—a fussy, stern vicar—she’s certain she shouldn’t proceed. They have nothing in common and a match between them can only lead to disaster and misery. But as a spinster with no funds or family, she’s out of options. 

Aaron Drake has always been perfect. As the eldest son and heir to an earl, he’s never engaged in mischief, taken an awkward step, or headed in the wrong direction. But with his marriage swiftly approaching—to a tedious, unpleasant snob—he’s suddenly desperate to do something reckless and wild before he’s shackled in what he’s sure will be an unappealing and dreary marriage. When he meets pretty, vivacious Evangeline, he can’t help but think she just might be the cure for what ails him. 

Seduction seems the only path, but when romance blossoms and passions heat, can love be far behind? 

RELUCTANT BRIDES… When love is the key and dowry the bait, who can predict what a woman might do?

My Thoughts:

I was clinging to the hope that this would be the redeeming book in the series, since Aaron seemed like a very good man in Wanton. Unfortunately, I just found more of the same. This plot is an echo of the previous two books, just with slightly less horrible characters and a different setup for the hero and heroine. While Aaron started out strong , I quickly learned to dislike him just as much as the other two heroes.

Evangeline was my favorite of the ladies in this trilogy, mainly because she had a bit of spunk (even though she was just as obnoxiously naive as Rose and Amelia). Aaron is suffering from an arranged marriage to a horrible girl and his need to do his duty when he meets Evangeline (cue sparks). Now, Aaron did a lot of things in this book that bothered me, but that I will admit were understandable for a man of his position (wanting a mistress, thinking with his...not his brain, wanting everyone to obey him).  I will let these slide since they are products of his position as Viscount and future Earl. But the thing that really pissed me off was how deceptive he was to get what he wanted from Evangeline. While I think he did a slightly better job than Lucas at groveling to get his woman back, I still don't think he should have been forgiven so easily.

The plot of this book was slightly more bearable than the previous two, though at times it seemed like a repeat of the other novels. I would have rated it higher, but I felt especially let down by Aaron since I actually LIKED him at the start of the book. It seems like he was morphed from a good, moral person into a total jerk just to fit into the theme of the trilogy (which seems to be "your man sucks, but you might be pregnant so you better forgive him and get married...stat").

Rating: 6

Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads Cheryl Holt  

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