by Brenda Joyce

October 2006
ISBN: 0-373-77184-3
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Mass Market Paperback

Ever since she was a young girl, Eleanor DeWarenne has adored her stepbrother, Sean O’Neill. Raised with five older brothers, she loves them all, but Sean holds a special place in her heart. When he left home four years ago, Elly thought that her heart would break. Sean promised that he would return, and for all of this time, she believed him.

The time has come to face the truth. Sean is never coming home. Four years without word to anyone in the family, and they believe the worst – that he is dead. Eleanor is an earl’s daughter, and it is time for her to wed. Her fiancé is an Englishman, but one who is honorable and kind. If only Eleanor could come to love him as much as he loves her.

Sean O’Neill never thought he would escape. The prison where he has spent his last two years is a grim reminder that he is a wanted felon. If the English soldiers find him, he will hang. The Irish patriots who are trying to help him escape to America would be horrified if they knew he planned an unscheduled stop on his trip to the coast. A brief visit with his family in Adare is a small thing to want, especially since he will never see them again.

Author Brenda Joyce opens the final trilogy of DeWarenne novels with The Stolen Bride. This emotionally charged book will have readers experiencing all of the action as Elly and Sean must come to terms with their adult lives. Love notwithstanding, there are many forces at play in this novel that will impact the outcome.

I enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to the next two, but there were some spots that could easily have been skipped. Sean and Elly spend most of their time alternating between passion and guilt, which can be wearing. The last few chapters are a well-deserved reward for readers who can get past those scenes to reach the finale.

Reviewed in October 2006 by Paula.

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