First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford

October 9, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First Season/Bride to Be by Jane AshfordFirst Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on October 6, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 512
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She's dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She's drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.

Emily Crane is the toast of the ton-and she couldn't find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer...


Lady Anabel Wyndham married straight out of the schoolroom in a match arranged by her parents.  She’s never been to London, never had a come out, but her husband died and she’s decided it’s time to take the children to the glittering streets of Town.  And, lucky for her, the family’s good friend Christopher Hanford is recently arrived too.

This is a variation on an insta-love romance – Anabel and Christopher have been friends for years, but while Christopher has always held deep affection for Anabel, she has only ever seen Christopher as a friend.  Until one moment (no spoilers) suddenly makes her realize she is actually in love with him.  For some people, the insta-love stories are sweet, but I do not care for them.  I don’t find insta-love realistic or compelling and frankly it didn’t make much sense within the narrative.  Moreover, Anabel was flat and almost spineless – she ignores her “beloved” children unless the moment suits her and allows herself to be kidnapped despite many opportunities for escape.  Christopher was a little better, though one must seriously question his sanity for pining after Anabel for so long without any hint his feelings were reciprocated.

I was far more interested in the story of Anabel’s cousin, Georgina, and would like to see more from this character instead.


Emily Crane has had a most unusual and unconventional upbringing.  The child of outcast, eccentric aristocrats, Emily is well-traveled, intelligent, and out-spoken.  And although she loves her artistic parents a great deal, she cannot help but wonder at the opportunities and stability found in London society.  But her life is not without excitement, such as the day she saved a young man from being drowned by some padfoots.  But she is beginning to wonder if this life is enough for her.

Emily is brought out in London by her socialite Aunt who wastes no time in schooling Emily in all the myriad rules, regulations, and expectations of the bon ton.  There, she meets many of the eccentric people she has encountered on her travels – a thief turned dancing master, a playmate turned physic charlatan, and the young man from the riverbank.  Or rather, Lord Richard Warrington as he is known in London, long-lost son and notorious rakehell.  Emily quickly puts together that someone is trying to kill Richard, but when she shares this news, he believes her mad as a hatter and annoying to boot.  Through a series of unlikely events, Emily and Richard find themselves forced into an arranged marriage.  It’s up to Emily to convince Richard someone is indeed out to kill him, or she won’t have a groom on her wedding day!

This novel was much more interesting than the other in this duplo-book, though still pretty far-fetched and predictable.  I probably would think less harshly of it if I had read this one first or on its own.

The overall rating of this book was significantly affected by FIRST SEASON.  Ultimately, if you enjoy insta-love novels, then borrow this book from your local library or a friend.  Otherwise, skip it.

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