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As the second book in the Bride Trilogy, I came in to this book so curious to see what transformation Cato's character would take on. After all, he marries his daughter, Olivia's friend, Phoebe (his widow's sister) and if that's not too close for comfort, I don't know what is. But, I suppose that Cato can easily take on Phoebe, as his wife because it's a calculated decision and it's much like picking out another hen from the henhouse, at least initially.
Cato is interesting because he plays an important role in the politics and constant shifting in the civil war in England. You definitely get the sense that his is a man's world and Phoebe, especially, is a pawn in this game between men, properties, and power. But, Phoebe, sweet, lovely Phoebe is a fierce, little one. Her clothes may get disheveled, but its only because she constantly on the move with her creative mind and giving heart. And, it's all of these qualities that eventually bring Cato out of his cold existence. Cato comes to experience passion and love with his wife, Phoebe and that was a pretty big accomplishment considering his starting point.
There were times when my 21st sensibilities sometimes got in the way of my enjoyment of this book (I thought I would scream if Phoebe referred to Cato as "my lord" one more time during a disagreement when he's being a complete ass). Yet, overall you can't complain much about Feather's writing, because it's simply superb. She develops this very interesting world, layered with danger, lurking villains, and she does friendship and romance well. Also, Jenny Sterlin was an excellent narrator. I very much enjoyed her performance as she brought this world to life.
I initially read these books out of order and gave the last book a terrible review, I have since revised that review.
This book was not as good as the "Hostage Bride", for me, but I admit that was because the main female character irritated me to no end. But, the ability to make the reader enjoy a book, despite disliking the characters, is one of the things that makes Ms. Feather such a talented writer
Phoebe's personality is so intense and the things she does makes the reader want to reach in and give her a big shake! But then, when I was 17 I'm sure my parents frequently wanted to shake some sense into me!
Several other reviewers complained about the age difference between Phoebe and the Earl, and the fact that Phoebe is his daughter's best friend. I think we have to remember the time period and the importance of marriages of convenience during that time period.
I did not particularly like the Earl either! Yes, he is cold and remote, but, he too is a man of his time period. I liked the way Phoebe "seduced" him after having been married to him for a while at that point. Ms. Feather illustrates that although older and married 3 times previously, his perceptions of what women thought of the marriage bed was flawed, and he could learn from a 17 year old girl!
Yes, I recommend this book, but only after reading the "Hostage Bride". Then finish the series with the "Least Likely Bride". I think these characters will be with me a long time.
Oh, and I too wonder why Ms. Feather included the 2 little girls from the Earl's marriage to Phoebe's evil sister Diana. I find myself wondering if she plans to have them grow up totally evil due to being so totally ignored! I guess I just don't want to see this series end! Hmmm, are you listening Ms. Feather?