Tuesday, May 15, 2018

ARC Review: The Bride Takes a Groom by Lisa Berne

Series:     Penhallow Dynasty #3
Pub. Date: April 24, 2018
Length:384 pgs

The Bride Takes a Groom is the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series, and my first read by this author. Penhallow is an esteemed and revered name in London society, and the family bucks tradition by marrying for love and maintaining close relationships throughout the family lines. I really liked everyone in the family, even Aunt Henrietta, who is a reformed stuffy matron sort.

Captain Hugo Penhallow has been in America fighting a war for the past 10 years or so, and has returned home after being shot and breaking his leg. He rushes back home to see his mother and siblings, and finds all the love he missed while he was away. Unfortunately he also quickly realizes their dire financial situation, and he sets out to remedy their lack of resources right away. I liked that Hugo was an amiable and easy-going fellow - nothing ever seemed to ruffle his feathers. His dedication to his family and even his bratty bride was admirable. I would have liked to spend more time in Hugo's head, and wished that his character had been developed more once the story was established.

Katherine Brooke is an obscenely wealthy heiress to a family with common origins. Her parents are crass and ostentatious, and they are very strict as they have hung their hat on trading Katherine for a title and elevated social standing. When childhood friend Hugo comes back into her life, Katherine views it as the perfect business transaction to get out from under her parents' thumb. Unfortunately, Katherine acts extremely cold and high brow, and I absolutely hated the way she treated Hugo and his family for over half the book. She was such a brat and unlikable in every way. I admit that she was mostly redeemed by the end of the book, but that didn't start until very late, nearly 80% if I remember correctly.

The romance between these two was hot and cold, with more time on the cold and frustrating spectrum than I prefer. Hugo was definitely more committed and caring, and we didn't see the same side of Katherine until tragedy struck. Luckily, the Penhallows made up for Katherine's lack and really kept the plot advancing when I grew tired of Katherine's attitude. I particularly loved their penchant for collecting stray and homely animals, particularly Sir Rodrigo, the featherless parrot. He added a wonderfully light and humorous aspect to the story.

I did enjoy Berne's writing style and all of the other characters besides Katherine, so I will definitely continue reading her in the future. First I must go read the back list from the Penhallow Dynasty as I am just dying to know how the previous couples met and fell in love.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Avon.

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