Review: The Bride Insists by Jane Ashford

Review: The Bride Insists by Jane AshfordThe Bride Insists by Jane Ashford

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 4, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
four-stars

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What happens when two people enter into a marriage of convenience with conflicting agendas?  I don’t suppose I even need to give an answer to that one really.  Conflict and drama do appear on the list of answers though I’m sure.  I have been on quite the Historical Romance kick lately and wanted to try many different authors in the genre.  I grabbed up this book to both try a new author and give a romance with such a potential for disaster a chance.  I enjoyed it to a certain extent, but there were a few moments when I was frustrated too.  Let’s just say this was probably a pretty accurate look at a marriage of convenience and the rosy glow of romance wasn’t as present in this one as in other similar type stories.  Haha!

Jamie Boleigh, Lord Tregarth, will lose it all if he doesn’t come into a great deal of money soon.  He is presented with an unusual opportunity if he is willing to take it.  He is offered a marriage of convenience that includes the stipulation that he leaves his new wife in control of all her funds if she agrees to help him pay off debts and restore his estate.  He accepts out of desperation and assumes that with time his wife will get tired of financial decisions and money matters and will leave that to him.

Clare Greenough was reduced to near penury when her brother dies and their cousin gets the family estate.  Simon forces her and her sick mother out of their home and washes his hands of them.  Her mother dies and she becomes a governess.  When she inherits a fortune from a great-uncle, Clare is determined to never again be put in a situation where someone else controls her money, but to get to her money which is still in Simon’s tender care, she must marry.  She devises a plan to keep charge of her fortune even after her marriage.  It doesn’t hurt that she finds her new husband attractive even as she sees the appalling situation of his estate and household.

Jamie and Clare begin their marriage on a hectic note when she discovers just what she has gotten herself into.  He jumps into taking care of the lands and tenants while she tackles the household.  Fortunately, her newly hired companion/friend is there to help.  Slowly, they both start to enjoy their new situation and each other, but their differences in thought on the finances eventually drive a wedge.

This book was somewhat of what I was expecting, but then not.  I knew there would be conflict over their difference of opinion and I was ready for it.  I also figured the evil Simon would play his part and he did- hate that weasel.  The addition of Jamie’s impish younger twin sisters, the cute autumn romance between Selena and the vicar and even the inclusion of the domestic scenes and village life were adorable.  I liked the idea of two flawed people coming together and helping each other grow.  Clare needs to learn to trust after her bad experiences with Simon and Jamie needs to fight his alcoholism and become a worthy lord and family man.  All that I truly enjoyed and wanted more of.

But that being said…

I took up issue with things about half-way through.  Both of the main characters went into the marriage with understandably selfish motives.  They made an agreement because they needed things.  I was willing to let that string along for a while until the relationship took and started to grow, but the thing is that neither let go of their selfishness and were blind to each other’s needs.  Jamie ran from issues into his bottle and lost his temper.  Clare?  Clare just ran.  A few times, if she would have just stuck around long enough to ask instead of assume, it would have ended so much better.  Clare couldn’t seem to see that she just steam-rolled over things flinging her money and decisions about- basically treating Jamie like a kept man.  She couldn’t seem to see that he just wanted to be able to hold his head up for the first time and having to always come across decisions she made without him just kept reminding him of his place.  You’d think working as a governess and kowtowing to spoiled children and their parents would help her see that, but nope.  And Jamie, he was so busy trying to alieve his guilt and shame over the condition of his estate and feeling sorry for his circumstances that he neglected his sisters and neglected to see what was driving Clare to need control the way she did.  I tried to understand because both were really shaped by their pasts, but it got annoying that they were so oblivious about things not on their own agendas.

Now I don’t want to give the impression that I hated the book or the people.  I struggled with their issues, but at the same time I loved them together.  Against the odds, these two were really making a go at things and were true partners of a sort that was novel in that era bringing an estate and home to life.  It was remarkable and I loved watching it happen.  Their passion and eagerness to be together without playing games was what showed me that no matter how idiotish they both acted at times elsewhere that their relationship was right and good.  They were good for each other.

I would have liked a bit more closure because I didn’t feel that all issues between them were totally resolved and I would have loved a final confrontation with Simon who it never did say what his issue with Clare was.  However, at least the two of them did lay a lot of things out there that needed to be said and were well on the road to getting it right this time around.

So all in all, I was glad to read Jamie and Clare’s story (and yes, for those in the know I kept having Outlander moments because of the name similarities) and want to check out the author’s other Regency Romances.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I am so a fan of the marriage of convenience storyline. It’s so fun to watch it turn from business to something more. I can totally get what you mean about being frustrated at a certain point with it and them not listening/understanding and running. That does get tiresome. Such a fine line of getting their issues across but not landing in the aaahhhh category. It does sound great though. I’m loving the set up 🙂

    • I love this story line too and I was intrigued by the twist of the woman keeping charge of her money. I think I got frustrated b/c I could see both sides, I could see how their pasts were very much in play, but they couldn’t see it for the simple reason that they didn’t communicate. I itched to grab people and lock them in a cell until they got it all ironed out. Plus I just knew they were really good for each other.

      And while I grump about it, I liked that these two were like normal people. She was bossy and had the ‘I know best’ attitude like the whole house and estate were children over whom she was a governess and he lost his temper and got his drunk on when he didn’t want to deal with hard stuff or mostly didn’t know how to deal with stuff especially his wife. They were just so…so normal. Haha!

      • LOL I get ya. I really like the normal people in my reads. It’s kind of refreshing. Sometimes I do try to keep my frustrations in check because of just that and being able to see both sides of something and not just there side. I wonder sometimes if I’d feel the same way/react the same way if I didn’t know the other half. But then yeah they just need to talk! I’m all for locking people in rooms. lol

        • You nailed it. It was refreshing as a change from my usual rosy romance stuff. I think this book and others like it work well for me so long as I read a bit of both styles.

  • I’m more of a fan with the marriage of convenience in contemporary romances, love them to death. Maybe I’ll pick one up with a historical one of these days 😀

    I struggle with character issues all the time, but like you said…it doesn’t stop you from liking the book, depending on the story arc 🙂

    • I like it in contemporaries too. I’ve picked up some books without any research on much of the story or the author just b/c I knew it was a marriage of convenience trope.

      Most of the time, I can enjoy the rest of the story w/o liking a character, but it depends on what generated my dislike or frustration. In this book, it was more frustration than actual dislike.