The Brides Of London is a collection of the first two books of the Advertisements For Love series. The two books in this collection are The Bittersweet Bride and The Bashful Bride. I reviewed each book separately below. Overall I gave the collection ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 rounded to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Both stories were lovingly and carefully written. The novels about friends were vastly different, each engaging in their way.
The Bittersweet Bride
The Bittersweet Bride is a journey through heartbreak and hope that leaves the reader breathless. The couple in this book face seemingly insurmountable odds to find their way back to each other. It is a beautiful Romeo And Juliet story with a gloriously happy ending
Theodosia is a widow trying to protect what is most precious. To do this, she advertises for a husband. Her long-lost love, Ewan, who deserted her to go to war and was presumed dead, re-enters Theodosia’s life. Both Theodosia and Ewan must reconcile their feelings of betrayal and mistrust if they are ever going to find redemption and love. Theodosia is a formidable, captivating character. She faces ridicule and rejection due to her upbringing and being a woman of color. I admire her unbending determination to protect what she loves most, her child. I was enthralled by the many facets and depth of her character. Theodosia was written with loving care.
Ewan had made choices that impacted Theodosia in ways he never bothered to consider. It took some time for me to warm to Ewan. Ewan radiated harshness and self-importance. Later, as the story unfolds, I found Ewan was a victim of circumstances as well. Once I realized Ewan’s motivations and earnest desire to make things right, I enjoyed his character. Ewan was flawed. However, he eventually owned it and became a caring, relatable character.
I have avoided going into the heart of the plot on purpose. There is much intrigue and many secrets revealed that are integral to the action, and I will not ruin the story for the reader. The plot has many moving parts. However, it is handled cleverly as not to confuse. The action moves quickly and catches the reader’s attention. Many unique nuances and plot devices work well within the story. This novel had me in tears at times; this made the happy ending even more rewarding.
Tropes: back from the dead, big secret, class difference, closed-door, compromised, disapproving parents, forbidden love, love at first sight, physical challenges, returning soldier, second chance love, star crossed lovers, widow, working women, wounded soldier, young love
The Bashful Bride
I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and characters in The Bashful Bride. The plot engaged me instantly, and the character’s personalities jumped from the page. This is an epic tale of unrequited romance, desperation, self-discovery, and love. This novel is sweeping in romance and passion.
Ester Croome has secretly loved Author Bex for two years. Through a set of exceptional circumstances, Authur and Ester find themselves eloping. Ester is running from an unwanted marriage, and Authur is looking for a respectable, loving wife. Authur has dark secrets in his past, and he works tirelessly as an abolitionist. Much of the book takes place on the elopement journey. We learn more about Authur and Ester’s personalities as they understand the challenges of a marriage between an actor and a woman of color. Ultimately, they find themselves dependent on each other. They face a multitude of challenges, yet their rocky path leads to a beautiful love story.
I loved Authur’s passion and grit. He is loyal and fights for what is right and for those he loves. Ester has been sheltered and has her eyes opened to so many hard truths. She starts as this scared, timid girl but transforms into an indomitable spirit. She changes from always being fearful to embracing life and love, both when they are easy and messy. Although Ester holds an unrequited love for Author, the couple’s attraction is immediate. The connection is tentative and fragile throughout the entirety of the novel. However, it nurtures and grows into robust and unbreakable love.
The plot captured my heart. I ached for these two tortured souls. The author made two imperfect halves of a united whole; it took Authur and Ester time to figure this out. The story had depth and had multifaceted layers. The concepts were complex and fully developed. This love story captured my heart, and I didn’t let go until the final page.
Tropes: elopement, closed-door, dark past, disapproving parents, disowned, forced marriage, actor, unrequited love, activist
Although both stories were outstanding and stood on their own, The Bashful Bride is my favorite of the two novels. These plots were not afraid to face complicated, complex issues. Both stories confronted prejudice and inequality fearlessly. These injustices were seamlessly weaved into two eye-catching, heartwarming romances. These were two excellent, beautifully written books. I loved every word I read!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.