by Cheryl Bolen, historical (2002)
Zebra Ballad, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7247-3
This is a potentially charming story that is ruined by the author creating the wrong sort of hero. Am I making sense here? The Bride Wore Blue is essentially a secret admirer story. The hero, Thomas Moreland, is a hero whose personality lingers close to the alpha/beta boundaries (aka "he has problems with communication but isn't quite a jerk like an alpha hero usually is"). The result is a story that drags because people just can't talk properly.
Felicity Harrison saves Thomas Moreland's life one night when her carriage comes across the badly wounded man. She and her traveling companions do the necessary TLC and send Thomas on his merry way to India.
Cut to six years later. Felicity is now a widow - she had a happy marriage to a dashing army guy - and in Bath to launch her sister and to keep her spendthrift younger brother out of trouble. Unknown to her, Thomas (she never asked for his name that night) has bought a house in Bath too, and he is seeking to win her affections. The man has been carrying a torch for his guardian angel all these years.
Isn't that sweet?
But someone forgot to tell Thomas that the correct way to woo a lady is not by assuming that said lady can read minds.
An annoying plot development here is Thomas not wanting to tell Felicity that he is the man she rescued years ago. Why? Something about wanting to earn her affections, I think. But Thomas decides to do this by high-handedly solving Felicity's money troubles (romance heroines gotta have one or two - it's the prerequisite), pushing his own sister to Felicity (can she introduce the gal too?), and generally letting Felicity feel obligated to him. Needless to say, Felicity is not exactly dancing on cloud nine. Along the way Thomas keeps telling me and everybody that he loves her, wants to marry her, et cetera.
"Tell her, not me, you idiot," I find myself telling that loser off. "Buy her flowers, chocolates, something with that money of yours!"
But men. Do they listen? Of course not.
If Felicity starts acting up all huffish and petulant, I don't blame her. I'd be in a worse mood if a man starts playing mind games with me and expects me to jump into his arms because he tells me so.
Toss in an Other Suitor, some attempt at suspense, and other obligatory external plots, and this book may add up to be an enjoyable read. That is, if Thomas isn't playing so hard to get like an overpriced piece of beef in the gourmet deli. Cheryl Bolen has a lively voice and an easy style that almost makes The Bride Wore Blue a fun romp. Almost, that is.
Thomas, you silly nitwit. If you have bought her flowers and flash that diamond ring, this book would've ended around page 100 and we all will have gone home happier for it. Bah. Dunderhead.
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