Wednesday, December 21, 2016

ARC Review: Roger's Bride by Sarah Hegger

Series:     Sir Arthur's Legacy #4
Pub. Date:Dec. 20, 2016
Publisher:Lyrical Press
Length:274 pages

While Roger's Bride is the fourth installment of Sir Arthur's Legacy, it is only my second read from the marvelous Sarah Hegger. I am reading these stories all out of whack, but I haven't had a bit of trouble with the character crossover. The series follows the children of the Angelsea family which is headed by fearsome knight, Sir Arthur.  There are five children - Richard, Bea, Faye, William and Henry - each getting their own love story for our reading pleasure.

Richard of Anglesea is the eldest child and heir to his father's barony. He is tired of being harangued by his family and has decided to take a wife... provided that one can be found to meet the specifications on his "requirements for a bride" list. Not really expecting to find that perfect someone, he is quite shocked when his mother (Lady Mary) presents him with Lady Mathilda (Matty) of Angelsea who ticks every box on the aforementioned list. It was entertaining for me to watch Roger realize that he may have been wrong in his list-making. While Matty may have outwardly satisfied his desires, she certainly did not share the sentiment when regarding him as a prospect for matrimony. I found Roger's ham-handed attempt at courting to be awkward and endearing. There is nothing quite like a big warrior-type man trying to understand and please a woman, and Roger's confusion was clear. He only wished women could be a bit more like dogs... only, you know, less hairy and smelly. 😆

Kathryn of Mandeville was a refreshing and unconventional heroine. She was a bit of a Joan of Arc, wanting to bring back the profession of shield maiden and live by her sword, free from the stifling control of men. Kathryn was also a great protector of her mother and sister, stepping in front of her brutish father's heavy fists whenever possible. I found her character to be endearing and guileless, and there were many things that I liked about her. I especially liked that her independence was tempered with innocence, and that she didn't let her violent family life dampen her spirit. I couldn't help but chuckle at some of the interactions between Kathryn and Roger - she seemed to confound him at every turn, which definitely went against his desire for a biddable meek wife. The only negative thing about Kathryn's character was the blinders she wore when looking at her sister's motives and behavior. It seemed that the relationship with Roger helped Kathryn to mature and view every situation from a different perspective, so she showed a good amount of personal growth by the end of the story.

The relationship between Kathryn and Roger was a slow burn. Kathryn has vowed not to marry and Roger has it in his head that he wants her sister. It took a while for either of them to realize what they felt toward the other was attraction, not total annoyance. Probably my favorite part of the relationship building was the journey to find Kathryn's runaway sister. We really got to see each character's personality during those interactions and established a good connection to the both Kathryn and Roger. This part of the book was light and fun and moved along at a good pace. I loved the little bits of humor that poked through in the first half of the book. The last third to a quarter dragged just a tiny bit for me... but I think it had to do more with me being sick and fatigued than the actual story. The second half was more about marital and family strife, so there were less humorous quips and more focus on the drama. The writing was solid throughout, but I think that lighthearted beginning took my focus off being under the weather (or it could just be my cold medicine was wearing off before I finished reading). Either way, Roger's Bride was a delightful distraction.

I am definitely a Hegger fan and have put her on my auto-buy list. I need to tackle one of her contemporary romances next as I am interested to see how they compare/contrast to the historicals.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Kensington/Lyrical Press.

Sir Arthur's Legacy