A Bride Most Begrudging

Written by Deeanne Gist
Review by Marcia K. Matthews

In the 17th century, women were indentured as “tobacco brides” to Virginia farmers. Lady Constance Morrow boards a shallop to say goodbye to her uncle, transported for political reasons, and is abducted by the villainous captain. Her uncle succumbs to ship fever. Constance reaches the colony half-starved and ragged, and is sold to despicable, crude Emmett for 200 pounds of sot weed. Drew O’Connor wins her in a poker game, and she goes to his cottage to learn housewifery. Her cooking skills are nonexistent, and she has never had to wash dishes, or brave a rooster attack to collect eggs. Drew is a strapping provincial, autocratic and stern, broken-hearted after losing most of his family and his beloved. His brother Josh provides humor.

Constance isn’t the stereotypical romantic heroine. She has freckles and curly auburn hair. Her passion is for mathematics, and she wants to continue her uncle’s work publishing “The Ladies’ Mathematical Diary.” She poses riddles to Drew, and he realizes that no trollop would have such an education. However, he puts off contacting her father until months have passed. The characters speak in formal dialog with odd, reversed syntax. The author’s strength is in the conflicts faced by her plucky heroine, who struggles to succeed in a primitive land.