by Christina Dodd

September 2002
ISBN: 0-06-009264-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

My Favorite Bride by Christina Dodd is a book that draws readers in. Itís quite obviously the heroine versus the hero. And the two are relatively evenly matched with the heroine, Samantha Prendregast, maintaining a slight lead for the first three quarters of the book.

Samantha is a governess, but she hasnít always been. And itís her past as a notorious pickpocket that she needs to keep a secret from her current employer, Colonel William Gregory. What Samantha doesnít try to hide is her irrepressible sense of self and her love for children. Itís these qualities that make her a top notch, if outspoken, governess to the Colonelís six daughters.

As the story progresses the reader learns of a mission William has undertaken. Itís his goal to uncover the heads of a Russian spy ring that has been operating in England with routes that cross his quiet corner of the country. Between bringing his mission to a head, checking out a prospective wife, and falling for his daughtersí headstrong governess, William has his hands full.

My Favorite Bride is most entertaining all the way around. In fact, I whizzed through the first three quarters of this book. Ms. Dodd spun a story filled with fun, passion and tenderness, a story in which the charactersí feelings were also those of the readers. It wasnít until just before Samantha told William her secret that things began to fall apart. Up until that point Iíd completely supported her actions and was beginning to warm to the woman William had begun to see wouldnít do as a wife for him. However, for some unfathomable reason Ms. Dodd chose to set in motion a series of events that undermined this readerís confidence in the charactersí intelligence.

One of the things Iíve always disliked that happens way too often in romance novels is when the heroine is angry with or (emotionally) hurt by the hero, they end up having sex during an argument. Itís even worse, when the hero (and I use that term very loosely in this case) is angry with the heroine and forces his attentions on her. I feel that regardless of when or how a woman says ďnoĒ it means no and to write it any differently confuses the issue. It also turns what should be a beautiful thing between a man and a woman into a weapon.

From there My Favorite Bride goes downhill for me. William goes from being an intelligent, if initially stiff, hero (and I mean that in the best sense) to a jerk. Even his apologies donít end things satisfactorily as heís still trying to control Samantha and taking the ability to choose out of her hands.

If youíre a Dodd fan, I recommend this book. If not then I donít, at least not as an introduction to this authorís work. This book starts off very well, and then flounders. However, I will say what so many others have said - Christina Dodd writes beautifully. This story pulls you in and makes you care about the characters and the ending. Both the pages and the time flies by swiftly.

Reviewed in September 2002 by JaToya.

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