04 August 2013

What the Bride Wore (Bridal Favors #3)

Summary from Goodreads:

Jade Lee's hot Bridal Favors series is set in a daring, high-energy Regency world where deep longings, secret scandals, and the competition for social stature are all set against the glittering weddings of the season.

Grant Benton, Earl of Crowle, finally has the funds he always pretended to have, and what he wants now is a woman. That woman is Lady Irene Knopp, who spends her days helping debutantes plan their weddings. A recent widow, Irene longs for love again, but she's afraid to risk her heart, especially to the notorious Grant Benton.

That blurb may be one of the most inaccurate blurbs I’ve ever read. What really happens is that Grant, following in his father’s moronic hellion/drinking/gambling footsteps manages to lose the family estate whilst retaining an old fabric mill. He strikes a bargain to buy back the property in X number of years. Grant finds that he has a flair for designing highly sought-after, rich fabric and the mill becomes successful. The family property is improved, the value increases more than Grant can afford, and it is appended to the current owner’s daughter’s dowry who, in a plot twist provided just to add grist to the family in-fighting mill, is betrothed to Grant’s younger brother who has been working as the estate manager (and, hence, was improving the property as a good manager would). Meanwhile, Grant has met Lady Irene Knopp, a widow of three years who works as a fabric buyer for a dressmaker/shoemaker/wedding planner (? – I was a bit hazy about this). They want each other but Grant seems to think he wants an aristocratic wife (at first) and Irene doesn’t want to betray her husband’s memory. But then they both wise up, especially when someone starts trying to kill Irene. Or Grant (that’s not terribly clear, either).

First off, Grant, for all that he loves to design fabrics, is an idiot. As successful a businessman as he’s become, the idea that he would not realize that property can accrue value makes no sense particularly when the deal was struck not for the original selling price but the current market value of the property. Add to that how angry he is at his brother for making improvements to the property, especially when Grant was paying no attention to any of that, it’s just a ridiculous plot point for needless tension.

Second, this is not an accurate Regency historical. It’s just a contemporary with Regency-ish window dressing. Aside from the issues of property ownership, etc etc, what really stuck in my craw was a ball given by a character (who is the dress-shop designer/owner?) who has married up (in a previous book in the series – and I didn’t realize this was part of a series until I was far enough into the book that I no longer cared about what happened). This ball is so highly sought after that only those members of the ton who had settled their accounts with the shop are invited because so many members of the ton are behindhand in their payments and the shop is in trouble. Er, no. This character is not an influential society matron or member of the nobility like Lady Jersey or the Duchess of Richmond and members of the ton would rather die than pry their pocketbooks open to settle a dressmaker’s account simply to obtain an invitation from a social nobody. They wouldn’t care at all.

I skimmed the book from here on out. I am, unfortunately, not that interested in the conclusion to this series.

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