Friday, July 10, 2009

The Bride Thief

The title: The Bride Thief
The author: Jaquie D'Alessandro
Publication: Bantam, 2002
Got it from: TWBB Toronto

Miss Samantha Briggeham is an on-the-shelf, spinster bluestocking who raises bees and loves science. She's 26 and determined not to get married, despite her mother arranging a marriage to a boring old man. What's a girl to do? Enter the Bride Thief, a man who steals brides who are forced into marriage and helps them set up a new life far, far away. One evening when Samantha is out collecting plants for her medicines, she's abducted by the Bride Thief. The only problem is that Sammie's already managed to get out of her marriage, and the Bride Thief has to do the unthinkable and return a stolen lassie.

If you know anything about the whole superhero/alter ego genre (and I know you do), you know that behind every masked man is someone who has been affected by tragedy. In this case, the Bride Thief (aka Eric, Earl of Wesley) had a sister who was forced into marriage with One Evil Dude, causing Eric much anguish and guilt and therefore driving him to save other women from the same fate. You'll also no doubt guess that Eric will start to fall in love with Samantha. She falls in love with him, too, not realizing his identity while continuing to profess her admiration for the Bride Thief.

This book bordered on the silly territory that Regencies tend to do, but that didn't mean I enjoyed it one iota less. Both the hero and heroine were wonderful characters and I found myself wishing I could read about their adventures after marriage, a sure sign of a good book. It kept my attention throughout, and there were some very exciting moments, such as Samantha's initial kidnapping and her attempt to help another reluctant bride, that made this book stand out for me. There were also some genuinely funny moments, too. Samantha's trying to get her sisters to tell her about birth control was a hoot, especially as she gets them drunk first. Actually, reading about birth control at all in a Regency book was interesting and I liked how Eric and Samantha were able to discuss it frankly. It showed that Samantha wasn't one of those annoying heroines who's supposed to be smart but continually does stupid things.

There were only a few things that bothered me about this book. Eric says, or thinks, "bloody hell!" approx. 1,435 times and it gets to be overkill - couldn't he use any other expression? Also, I didn't like how the ending got too emotionally intense when all the misunderstandings could have been resolved by them just confessing their feelings a little more. I also wish that Eric hadn't fallen in love with Samantha quite so quickly. I prefer a slower build-up.


29 Batman archetypes out of 30

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