by Brenda Joyce

August 2007
ISBN: 978-0-373-77244-5
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Blanche Harrington knows she must find a husband. She cannot possibly manage her fatherís business interests alone. She simply prefers to find a strong, honorable man to handle most of her business affairs so that she can focus on the charitable contributions, just as she did when her father was alive. She is concerned that her vast fortune will attract all of the tonís fortune hunters, leaving her with few candidates. But her deepest fears are not for her inheritance, but for her inability to feel deep emotion. After seeing her motherís death when she was six, Blanche has been unable to feel anything more than superficial emotions. Even her beloved fatherís death left her without tears. How can she make the most important decision of her life with no passion?

Rex de Warenne has known war and heartbreak. Now all he wants is to be left alone to rebuild Bodenick Castle and see to his estate. He has no time to waste on the fawning members of society. They are frivolous and are consumed with rules and restrictions. He has better things to do than pay social visits and sit through inane conversations. He does not plan on marrying since most ladies would not be interested in a man, who is more comfortable in fields than ballrooms, a man who came home from the war on one leg.

Blanche has always admired Rex and secretly wishes he would come calling. He has always been kind to her and she knows he is brave and loyal. She would definitely consider his proposal. There is just one problem. He is not in town and has not shown any interest in her life recently. Rex has always considered Blanche to be the epitome of a perfect lady. She is kind, honest and beautiful in both face and spirit. If he could find a woman like her, who would be satisfied with life in the country, then perhaps he would marry after all.

Author Brenda Joyce has already set this plot in motion through her other De Warenne novels. Now all she has to do is carry it to the conclusion. If I separate the actual plot away from the characters, I can easily say that it is strong and constructed of some threads not normally found in romance novels. But unfortunately, the character development is a key element for any novel, and I had some real issues with Blanche. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was glad to be finished. If I had read one more passionate scene where Blanche calls him ďSir RexĒ I was going to be ill. Her inability to address him informally grated on my nerves with every page, and it made her sound like a ninny. It was so annoying that it detracted from the romance, and that is not good. Rex may have been a grittier, more robust character, but he came off more sympathetically than the heiress. The Perfect Bride was not the perfect novel.

Reviewed in August 2007 by Paula.

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