Friday, April 15, 2016

Lucinda Brant - Salt Bride

When the Earl of Salt Hendon marries squire’s daughter Jane Despard, Society is aghast. But Jane and Lord Salt share a secret past of mistrust, heartache and misery. Four years on, they are forced into a marriage neither wants; the Earl to honor a dying man’s wish; Jane to save her stepbrother from financial ruin. Beautiful inside and out, the patient and ever optimistic Jane believes love conquers all; the Earl will take some convincing. Enter Diana St. John, who has been living in a fool’s paradise believing she would be the next Countess of Salt Hendon. She will go to extreme lengths, even murder, to hold the Earl’s attention. Can the newlyweds overcome past prejudices and sinister opposition to fall in love all over again?

Comment: This is my buddy read for the month. I don't know why it caught our attention but since it was in the list of books we would want to try, here it is, read and enjoyed already. I'm very glad I read this book because I really liked it.

In this story we meet Jane Despard, a squire's daughter in Georgian England, and how she is feeling worried and like she doesn't have a choice by accepting the proposal of the man that ruined her but who she never stopped loving. Her father disowned her because of that but a clause in the will of the uncle who took her on makes her accept the proposal otherwise her cousin Tom wouldn't inherit. 
Lord Salt Hendon also proposes because he made a promise a long time ago, but he feels contempt and anger towards Jane for he thinks she didn't wait for him and was the guilty one of their breaking up. But now that they are going to be husband and wife, can they mend their issues? What about the person who has done everything to separate them...?

I had such a great time reading this book, I didn't want to put it down and I managed to finish it in one day! I liked the heroine, which was what made me want to keep reading and, for the first book I've tried by this author, I was impressed by her "voice". 

This is a lovers reunited story, which I usually can't stand, but the author did this so well I really wanted to see them together again. It helped that their relationship from the past didn't end well, so they didn't spend all their time thinking about it. They talked, agreed on the marriage and moved forward. I liked the pace a lot and even more how the heroine got more and more confident, even when there was a villain always trying to bring her down.

This story is quite interesting and much of the focus is on the villain, Diana, someone who wants lord salt for herself and she does anything to stop him from running from her. I usually get so annoyed when we have to read the villains plans in the page, detailed descriptions of their deeds and thoughts but the narrative was third person, without much inner thoughts, so I could maintain a certain detachment from her. She was evil, she used and manipulated and controlled things to such extent that, for instance, even Salt's previous mistresses had a deadline to be considered such after one year. Diana is quite mad, but there's refinement and coldness to her mental processes.

This story is set on some misunderstandings from Salt and Jane's past and relationship. We slowly learn of how it was possible for them to grow apart so much, the communication isn't always fluid but neither is nowadays...I know some things seemed too far-fetched but looking at this with fantasy eyes, which always has to exist in romances somehow, I can understand why the problems between them would have made them reluctant to talk and discuss their past.. the feelings they had changed but then they could move forward, especially after they learned about all that has kept them away.

Salt and Jane start up their marriage with some issues, not communicating much but everything that brought them together in the past happens again, proving their love was real. I liked the development in their relationship, how step by step is was but how they became happier as time went by and everything started to work out between them.
I liked Jane a lot, she is a quiet heroine but with poise, elegance, patience and even the bad things from her past changed her warm and caring personality. She's not perfect in her behavior, she can be annoying here and there but that even made me like her more. She's not some silly young girl that only sees unicorns or something...
Salt starts very angry with Jane but they fall in love again. I also liked how responsible he is and how attentive he becomes when Jane is around. He believed a lot of lies but when he starts to realize how things are he doesn't let circumstances or appearances change his mind. I liked that about him.

The secondary characters offer enough interaction to make the story move forward, some of them really help in the plot development and it was quite good to see the main couple wasn't an "island" and had people to help them too, in a way.
The end was perfect, the villain unmasked, the main couple happy and I finished the book with the feeling I spent a good time with all those characters. Sure the story isn't perfect, some situations got on my nerves and more romantic moments or scenes could have existed, I think, but overall, this was a successful story for me.
I'll look for to try something else by the author to see if it's someone I should become a fan of or if this is one of those "one hit" chances.
Grade: 9/10

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