THE BITTERSWEET BRIDE - Vanessa Riley
REVIEWER: Brenda Larnell| RATING: B+
REVIEW: THE BITTERSWEET BRIDE is a fitting title for the book because the heroine, throughout the story, lives a “bittersweet life”. Theodosia Cecil, also known as Theo, is a woman of color residing in England in the 1800’s. A word used to describe her quite often is Blackamoor, a dated offensive word for a dark-skinned person. Although, Theo marries into a prominent family, owns property and is an astute businesswoman, she is still shunned because of the color of her skin. The hero, Ewan Fitzwilliam, an aristocratic frustrated playwright, and Theo are in love, but because of blatant meddling by his father and hateful manipulation by his mother that results in a tragic turn of events, their love succumbs to bittersweet circumstances that keep them apart. It’s a bit complicated, at times confusing, and most unfortunate.
Author Vanessa Riley takes her readers on a long journey that chronicles the unusual relationship between a white Englishman and a Black woman. There is a great deal of conflict, tension, and angst that dominates the storyline, and very few peaceful and stable moments. In other words, there was not enough romance to balance the chaos. Even the presence of a child (Thea’s son) does not ease the prevailing turbulence. To be sure, THE BITTERSWEET BRIDE is not your typical historical romance.
Characterization in this story is strong and well-developed through attitudes and actions. Theo has a support group of three friends who provides a listening ear, encouragement, and play key roles in the development of the storyline. One character who stands out is Jasper, a widower with young daughters and Ewan’s brother who gives him invaluable support. I like his character and look forward to his reappearance in this series. There are a few characters who display villainous tendencies, but Mr. Lester, Theodosia and son’s vengeful guardian, takes the prize. He is the epitome of a villain you love to hate.
Overall, THE BITTERSWEET BRIDE is an engaging story, and I recommend it. However, the pacing of the story gets bogged down with repetitious dialogue that centers around Ewan and Theo’s past. It causes a sluggish build up and resolution to the problems that face the couple. However, romance fans there is an HEA that you will be certain to enjoy. No spoilers. You will have to read it for yourselves.
1st April 2018 | firstname.lastname@example.org