Almost a Bride

Written by Jane Feather
Review by Audrey Braver

Almost a Bride is not just another “bride” book. It’s a romance between the unlikeliest pair. Jack Fortescu sets out to ruin Frederick Lacey. Only they know that the reason stems from a betrayal by Frederick in France during the Reign of Terror. After losing everything, Frederick cowardly kills himself. Jack has to break the news to Frederick’s sister. Arabella is an intelligent spinster who after one unsuccessful Season retired to her family’s seat to raise orchids. An immaculate Jack finds a scrubby Arabella in the hothouse, hands buried in potting soil. Marriage to Frederick’s sister is part of Jack’s revenge, but Arabella rejects him, preferring to throw herself on the charity of distant relations. After careful consideration, she accepts him as an alternative to genteel poverty. Inevitably, we learn the tragic reason behind Jack’s actions.

This is better than vintage Jane Feather. The plot is believable, and the characters are great. It is easy to see Jack as an unscrupulous monster, but his obvious pain calls for compassion. Arabella is a unique, intelligent woman, a good match for him. You will love her.