I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
Sometimes, when I read a book for review, I am pleasantly surprised to find a story with more than I expected. That happened to a degree with The Bride Insists. Were it not for a slightly jarring second half, I would likely give this book a strong recommendation but as it is, the book is still enjoyable enough to warrant a qualified one.
Clare Greenough has landed in a pretty miserable situation. Due to an entail, her father's estate went to a cousin who used his good fortune to get back at the branch of the family by whom he felt slighted. Clare's mother died after having been turned out of her home, and instead of a London season, she had to seek employment as a governess. When the book opens, we see her living in that awkward position somewhere between the employer's family and the lower servants, with little freedom to craft her own life and the constant worry of providing for herself on a pittance of a salary.
Things change when news arrives of an inheritance. Clare has inherited her great-uncle's fortune. However, said fortune will remain in the hands of trustees until she marries. Since one of the trustees happens to be her hateful cousin, the likelihood of her having a chance to better her situation appears slim. Therefore, she determines to m.arry. Through the machinations of a sympathetic solicitor, Clare is introduced to James Boleigh, a baron in dire need of funds to restore his estate. The two decide to marry but make it clear that this will only be a business arrangement. In fact, Clare insists upon the signing of an agreement that will allow her to control her funds.
The opening chapters of this novel set the stage uncommonly well. With a few sentences, Ashford is able to show the heroine's daily life as the monotonous pit of despair it has become, and also establishes her as a strong-willed, sensible young woman. Likewise, she provides us with a hero who has good intentions and a likable quality to him, even as he obviously also displays a weakness for drowning his problems in drink.
This is a partial review. You can find the complete text at All About Romance.