this book is in good shape but it's a library copy
If you haven't read THE STANFORD SECRETS, you should do so before reading THE STOLEN BRIDE, as the author has many spoilers spread throughout the book.
This book is ostensibly the story of Lady Sophie Kyle and her fiance Lord Randal Ashby. Sophie and Randal became engaged just after the drama which came at the end of Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed, and as I found Sophie and Randal more interesting than Jane and David, I wanted to read this book.
The first half of the book is far more about Beth Hawley, Jane's old governess, however. Beth is on her way to Steyne for the festivities leading to Sophie and Randal's wedding, when she meets up with Sir Marius Fletcher, another friend of David Wraybourne. He's a very big man, but unfailingly courteous, though with a good sense of humour. We sniff a secondary romance, and we'd be right.
On to Sophie and Randal, though, and for most of the book we only really see them through other characters' eyes. Something's wrong with what should be a blissful romance. Randal is avoiding Sophie, while she tries to flirt with him. She even tries to flirt with his friend Piers Verderan in order to make Randal jealous, but that only makes both men angry. Why is Randal so aloof? Why is Sophie so insecure? Why is Sophie wondering whether Randal was forced into proposing after he compromised her? Even though everyone around can see how much Randal loves Sophie, his behaviour is making her unhappy.
Into the mix here we then have anonymous threatening letters, and an attempt on the life of Randal's brother, where Randal himself seems to have been the intended victim.
As the date of Sophie's wedding draws near, Beth realizes some mysterious shadow from the past seems to haunt the bride and groom. The elderly woman, suffering from memory loss, may hold the key. Beth turns to Sir Marius for help, but Beth efforts are thwarted at every turn as she encounters a most unlikely villain-while her only ally seems to have his mind set more on romance than the danger at hand...