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Reese's Bride by Kat Martin
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Reese's Bride

by Kat Martin

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To put it bluntly: Reese's Bride is awful. The first thing it does wrong is skip the part where the protagonists, Reese and Elizabeth, fall in love. They fell in love as youths, so after the eight-year separation during which Elizabeth marries another man and Reese goes away to war, when they meet again there's no need for them to fall in love again. It's assumed.

Reese and Beth do need to get reacquainted, but there are problems on that front too. Beth's adjustment to the new Reese is almost realistic. She compares the boy she knew and the man she meets again, and her feelings develop naturally. Reese, on the other hand...his thoughts all run along the lines of, "He couldn't fall in love with Elizabeth again - he could only lust after her!" He's always busy convincing himself that Elizabeth is a traitor, a mercenary, etc., and I guess we're supposed to assume from these thoughts that he really thinks the opposite? But I would have found it more believable if I'd seen him actually falling for her. Not just flip-flopping between cursing her and undressing her in his mind.

This is a little spoilerish (though it's all revealed early in the book): Elizabeth's horrible betrayal is that she was engaged to Reese (though not formally - her father had been opposed to the marriage and she just promised to bring him around) and then, after he went off to war, she married another man. If Elizabeth had actually made that choice, we'd have some real conflict in this novel. But she didn't. First of all, her father forced her to marry the earl of Aldridge - she fought him all the way. Aldridge seemed like a charming, handsome earl, but once they're married he turns out to be a total jerk. He's a wife-beater, mean to their son, and cruel in bed. Phew - I was worried Reese might have some competition! But we might still be wondering if Elizabeth tried hard enough to stay true to Reese, if there was anything more she could do. After all, she married Aldridge only a few months after Reese left. Well, set those fears to rest - she married Aldridge because she was pregnant with Reese's child.

So now we have a whole book where Reese is righteously angry at Elizabeth for...obeying her father in Victorian England and marrying in order to avoid bearing a bastard child. Where does Reese get off being angry? It ought to be the reverse. Elizabeth ought to be furious with him for abandoning her in her hour of need, for giving in to the temptation to have sex and not sticking around to make sure that there weren't any consequences. Admittedly, it takes a while for Reese to learn all the circumstances - but that doesn't change his opinion at all. He thinks Elizabeth is lying when she says she was forced to marry Aldridge, continues to believe she married him for his money, and he's furious when he finds out that she "denied" him his son.

To be perfectly frank, the strongest emotion Reese's Bride evoked in me was pity. Poor Elizabeth. The man she loves knocks her up and leaves the country so she's forced to marry someone who treats her horribly. Then, once her hated husband dies, she's stuck with a pair of in-laws eager to continue the reign of terror. When she finally builds up the courage to escape, she finds herself subjected to a new hell. Reese scorns her, insults her, seduces her and then reminds her that he feels no respect for her.

This book is so thoroughly dysfunctional that I had a hard time believing in any love connection at all. Reese's endless, totally unjust anger at Elizabeth is combined with, as I mentioned at the beginning, the assumption of a strong love between them. Taking love for granted while writing scene after scene where the hero hurts and disrespects the heroine does not add up to a stirring, romantic tale. I know at one point, while Elizabeth is cringing away from Reese's not-so-gentle advances, Reese says something like, "I've never forced a woman in my life, I'm not going to start with you." ... Wow, he's never committed the crime of rape? Be still my beating heart. ( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
Fun, pretty good, nothing deep but enjoyable. Her situation starts out reasonably believable, though the longer she delayed explaining and telling the whole story the less likely it felt. I like the kid - I loved watching him blossom with Reese. Basically I liked the people but the situation got ridiculous - talk about convoluted solutions, and no one was admitting their motivations, not even to themselves. Fun fluff. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Nov 10, 2010 |
Reese's Bride is the second book in the bride trilogy. It is about Reese and his old love Elizabeth who betrayed him. It involves Elizabeth going to him fearing for her life and her son's. This series is turning out to be very addicting. I could hardly put the book down. Some of the twist I figured out before it was revealed but I didn't guess all the suprises. ( )
  honeydew69862004 | Jun 11, 2010 |
Being forced in to giving up his life in the military and become a gentleman farmer may have been his fathers dying wish, but for Reese Dewar just being in the same area as the woman who had broken her word and his heart was going to be his worst nightmare. Widowed and now in danger, Elizabeth Holloway had nowhere else to turn and no one else she knew she could trust, so she went to the only man she had ever loved and played on his sense of honor to protect her and her son from the in-laws that she believed where out to kill her and control her son’s inheritance.

Book 2 ….. Oh there is so much to these Dewar men. Returning as a war hero and proving why he should be hailed as that was fun to see, his honor, his integrity and his loyalty alone made him a great hero for any book, and then there was the insecure and self-protective side of him that made him even better. I really enjoyed the combination on Reese, and the contrast to his other brothers. I am not one that usually likes pre-existing relationships, but this one had some real interesting hurdles to overcome - making it feel not so pre-existing anymore. As usual in a series, it is nice to see other characters that we have gotten to know in other books and this one did a fabulous job of incorporating Royal, Lily and a bit more of Rule (getting us ready for book 3 no doubt). Confident that book 3 (Rule’s Bride) is going to be a blast based on the bit of teasing that went on in the end of this one. ( )
  onyx95 | Jun 2, 2010 |
Reese’s Bride by Kat Martin

This is a historical novel based on lies, abuse, misconceptions, half-truths, revenge and vengeance, with some treason and espionage thrown in for good measure.

Some years ago Reese, our hero, fell in love with Elizabeth. They were both very young and very naïve and even while he took her virginity, they both knew that he was leaving on what they euphemistically call “adventuring”, but in truth he was going off to war. Elizabeth being the typical woman/girl of the times had no back-bone and when her father tried to force her to marry the Earl of Aldridge she did not put up much of a fight. But then again she was doing this in her own best interest since she now had a big secret that would ruin her.
Reese finally comes back after being gravely wounded in the war; hating Elizabeth with a passion since she had married another while he was away. But of course circumstances contrive to pull them together. Elizabeth’s dead husband’s brother and sister-in-law are making her and her son Jared’s life miserable and for some reason Elizabeth is becoming increasingly and severely ill. The straw that finally breaks the camels back is one night her brother-in-law Mason enters her room and let’s her know that he knows that she “needs” him in the biblical sense. Elizabeth of course has nowhere else to go so off she hies herself off to Reese’s house for protection. Naturally even though he hates her, Reese is a gentleman and allows her sanctuary. And then the adventure really begins.

This is a typical historical that really follows the formula. We have, as I mentioned, the damsel in distress who had done the lord wrong, the stoic Lord who has to be a gentleman and help said damsel---but for a price of course! We have that very same Lord thinking that he knows what’s best for Elizabeth. (From page 109---”He meant to have her. He knew what she wanted, what she needed, even if she didn‘t. And he intended to give it to her.”) I have to giggle a bit at that line though! We even have an iffy parentage problem. All these things add up to an enjoyable if ever so slightly predictable read. Yet it is still just different enough to have kept me reading and also ordering “Royal’s Bride” and pre-ordering “Rule’s Bride”.

Happy Reading! ( )
  Cats57 | Feb 18, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0778327442, Mass Market Paperback)

Wounded in battle, Major Reese Dewar returns to England—but his injuries are nothing compared to his shattered heart

Years ago, love-struck Reese departed his home at Briarwood with a promise from raven-haired Elizabeth Clemens that she would make a life with him upon his return. But mere months later, she married the Earl of Aldridge, attaining wealth and status Reese could never match. Memories of that betrayal make his homecoming far more bitter than sweet.

Seeing Elizabeth on his doorstep dressed in widow's garb twists the knife even deeper. But fear for her young son's safety has overcome her pride: she begs Reese for protection from those who would see the boy dead to possess his fortune. He agrees to an uneasy alliance, sensing Elizabeth still harbors deep secrets—and Reese knows that he's placing himself in danger…of losing his heart all over again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:08 -0400)

"Wounded in battle, Major Reese Dewar returns to England--but his injuries are nothing compared to his shattered heart. Years ago, love-struck Reese departed his home at Briarwood with a promise from raven-haired Elizabeth Clemens that she would make a life with him upon his return. But mere months later, she married the Earl of Aldridge, attaining wealth and status Reese could never match. Memories of that betrayal make his homecoming far more bitter than sweet. Seeing Elizabeth on his doorstep dressed in widow's garb twists the knife even deeper. But fear for her young son's safety has overcome her pride: she begs Reese for protection from those who would see the boy dead to possess his fortune. He agrees to an uneasy alliance, sensing Elizabeth still harbors deep secrets--and Reese knows that he's placing himself in danger...of losing his heart all over again."--p.[4] of cover.… (more)

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