~ Second in Feather's "Brides Trilogy" and my least favorite of the three, though worth a read (3.5 stars) ~
This book is the second in Feather's "Brides Trilogy" (it follows THE HOSTAGE BRIDE, Portia's story, and precedes THE LEAST LIKELY BRIDE, Olivia's story). It is my least favorite of the three and although I really disliked it when I first read it (I looked back in my notes and apparently I only gave it one star), when I recently reread it I found that it wasn't as bad as I remembered it (or my taste has changed somewhat). It is definitely not your usual romance though (Feather's books often aren't) and some people may be put off by some of unusual aspects of the book; I've detailed them below, but some are spoilers so be forewarned.
[1646, England] Cato, Marquis of Granville, has had three wives and is now on his way to acquire a fourth - Phoebe, the somewhat awkward and clumsy younger sister of his third wife, Diana. He doesn't really have many expectations for the marriage: England is in the middle of a civil war in which Cato is playing a large role on the side of Parliament, he has never really noticed Phoebe much except as his wife's younger sister and one of his daughter's best friends, and basically his only interest aside from continuing the familial alliance is to finally get a son.
Phoebe knows exactly when she stopped seeing Cato as her brother-in-law and best friend's father and ever since that moment she has found herself unbelievably and undeniably attracted to him. She should therefore be ecstatic that her father and Cato have agreed to a marriage between them ... but she knows Cato doesn't return her feelings. After they are married, things just don't feel right - Cato doesn't seem to be treating her any differently than before and the nights they spend together in bed are far from what she imagined and her body desires. Determined to make Cato notice her, Olivia and Portia (the third in their trio and heroine of THE HOSTAGE BRIDE) help Phoebe change her clothing and hairstyle and Portia gives her some tips on how she can help Cato realize she wants him to *truly* make love to her.
Jane Feather combines a villainous subplot, a civil war backdrop, a stubbornly determined and oddly enchanting heroine, and a stern and lonely hero who against all odds finds himself falling for his surprisingly endearing new wife in her second "Brides Trilogy" book, THE ACCIDENTAL BRIDE.
~ Phoebe is one of those great unusual heroines: awkward, clumsy, very straightforward, unsure of her appeal to the hero, very caring and loving towards all those around her (no matter their rank or lack thereof)
~ The sex scenes between Phoebe and Cato aren't very numerous or long, but those that are there are quite hot (especially the one in the military camp when they have to sleep in the barracks ;-) lol)
~ When Cato and Phoebe's relationship starts to develop, there are some really great exchanges between them: Cato starts to find Phoebe's haphazard appearance endearing, how he reacts to her love and loyalty, etc.
UNUSUAL ASPECTS OF THE BOOK: (includes *spoilers*)
For the first month of their marriage, Phoebe and Cato have a very stilted sexual relationship and their wedding night is downright awkward. Cato thinks that like his three previous wives, Phoebe is a well-bred young lady who won't enjoy the marriage bed, so he'll get the business over and done with every night ASAP, then leaving her alone, in hopes of impregnating her and finally getting an heir. Phoebe is actually very attracted to Cato (she "lusts" after him) and so with Portia's help figures out how to seduce him and make him realize that she does indeed want to be an active participant in the marriage bed. I do have to give Feather props for tackling this issue and not having their sexual relationship be amazingly steamy from the get-go, but it is very unusual for the genre.
The age difference is somewhat bothersome (though I know, it's a different time period): Cato is 35, Phoebe is 18. As others have mentioned, Phoebe is one of Olivia's (Cato's daughter) best friends and they are only two years apart, so it makes the whole romance between Cato and Phoebe odd, kind of uncomfortable, and seems almost incestuous. Cato's third wife, Diana, was Phoebe's older sister and since Phoebe moved in to live with them, she's been Olivia's companion and almost a niece to Cato, so ... yeah, I don't know, kind of bizarre.
The subplot with Brian Morse trying to get at Cato (ruin him / kill him / etc.) can get to be very trying because at times you just want to shake Phoebe for seeming so oblivious and dense. She repeatedly almost gets sucked in to his traps and subterfuge and although in the end she realizes what he's about and tells him no (thankfully! because that would have really pissed me off), it goes on for far too long IMO.
If you're determined to read the whole trilogy - and the other two books are definitely worth it - then get this from the library or borrow it from a friend, don't buy it.
Of the three bride books, I liked this one the best. Nothing keeps Pheobe down and nothing can stop her. The idea of being the second bride to her brother in law seems really icky, especially when the men don't seem to acknowledge her as a person at all. She even has to wear her dead sisters wedding gown, (cheap b@stards!) while the men wonder "why doesn't she look as good a her sister did in it???" DUH!
It's a quick read and then worth passing on, so enjoy it!
I really like Jane Feather. This series was fun, set in an earlier time frame than the Regency. I enjoyed the interactions of the characters.
2nd books in a trilogy often have issues much like middle children. Accidental Bride was a happy exception to many rules. The heroine was appealing and very natural. The hero grew. The sex was honest. All against the background of the English Civil War, which is not a hackneyed setting. Strongly recommend reading the three books in proper order (Hostage Bride is 1, Least Likely Bride is 3).
Not as entertaining as The Hostage Bride. I felt Phoebe was too meek and innocent and never would have made her sexual wishes known to her husband or disobeyed her husband the way she kept doing. The female character was just to unbelievable. First too boring then to unbelievable risky.
The storyline of the stepson's muderous intent was far more interesting.
All in all, not as interesting as other Jane Feather novels.
Trilogy series includes: The Least Likely Bride and Wedding Game.
Set in times past, an entertaining trio of ladies.
I don't usually like period/historial romance but I have really enjoyed Jane Feather.
This is an awesome series. Set in olden times, with good romance.
This was a fun book to read (a case of mistaken identity). The plot had an unexpected twist that made it different than many other romance books.
Love all the Bride Stories
This was an interesting book, definitely not as much fun as the first one. The first portion of the book was rather sad because nobody felt Phoebe measured up and it was so obvious.
I loved Phoebe. She saved the book for me. She was a doer and gave a thought to all of her options before she acted. The only thing that bothered me was that her being a writer really had no bearing on her character or her actions. This was the same problem I had with Olivia in the third book. I loved how Phoebe spoke her mind and stood up for what she believed in. And when Cato put her down, she wasnt going to sit there and take it.
There were a lot of yuck factors to get over in order to enjoy this book: First there wasn't only the age difference but Phoebe was Cato's daughter's best friend. Talk about an emotionally incestuous. Now add on the fact that Cato used to be married to Phoebes older sister and had two daughters with her. Throw in that Cato only married Phoebe out of convenience, knows his horses better than her, and only started noticing her when Phoebe changed the way she dressed. Oh, yes. And the huge yuck factor that Cato was an idiot and a jerk for most of the book (and much of the series).
So if you can get over these things, it was a very easy to read book. The politics was a little boring compared to the first book. I dont think the book was worth the credit or real money, but it was good enough to borrow from someone or the library especially if you have read the other two in the series.
I really liked the characters in this story. I was glad to see some of the characters from the first story spilled over into this own. Hope I am not giving to much away, but I was glad that for once one of the characters didn't do anything stupid to move the story along. Recommend.
An accomplished author that keeps you guessing.
Good historical romance. I really enjoyed it.
I absolutely loved the character of Phoebe..she was someone that I would love to have as a friend. I enjoyed Cato as well.
when running away does not solve problems, phoebe decides to try something a little different.
Another fun read from Jane Feather.
part of the brides series; a good read.
Phoebe was not the kind of woman men fell in love with. Untidy hair, rumpled clothes and fingers ink-stained from the poetry she wrote, but when her sister dies Phoebe is forced into an engagement with her sister's husband. She should be upset except she has fallen in love.
Second in the Brides Trilogy. I found it as good as the first.
Brides Trilogy, this is the story of Phoebe.