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Blackthorne's Bride: A Bitter Creek Novel

by Joan Johnston

Series: Mail-Order Bride (Aug 2016 - Book 4), Bitter Creek (Mail-Order Bride bk 4 - Book 16)

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366517,814 (3.67)None
A rogue nobleman, a rescued lady, and revenge undone by romance all play a part in New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston's irresistible novel of best-laid plots, delicious deception, and unexpected passion.   Two years have passed since Josie Wentworth was bought from the Sioux for a gold watch and whisked back to England by Marcus Wharton, the Duke of Blackthorne. When Marcus breaks his promise to return Josie to America, she ends up as a maid in the home of his charming but neglected nephews. Once Josie's long-lost family finds her, however, the suddenly wealthy heiress sets out to save the two boys from their indifferent uncle--and teach the duke a lesson in honor.   Learning that Marcus is seeking a rich American bride to save his estate, Josie plots to catch his eye--certain he'll never recognize the beauty she's become as the ragged captive he rescued. But Josie doesn't wager on her marital charade taking a tender turn, as the nobleman she's despised for years proves to be a very different man than she's imagined. And there's no denying his passionate caresses, as she falls deeper under the spell of a husband determined to claim her heart. Praise for Blackthorne's Bride   "[Joan] Johnston's gloriously dramatic twelfth Bitter Creek novel, the fourth installment in her Mail Order Bride subseries, whisks readers across the Atlantic. . . . [This] page-turner is replete with romantic angst, sizzling sex, and the promise of an enduring love."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Second chances, marriage of convenience, revenge, reconnection, and redemption . . . Blackthorne's Bride is another winner from Joan Johnston that gives readers a delicious story of love, laughter, forgiveness, and family."--Smexy Books   "Blackthorne's Bride is a sweeping tale that takes you from the Wild West . . . to Regency England. [It's] a feisty and surprisingly enticing romance that takes you on an adventure through the city streets of London and the countryside."--Addicted to Romance   "Riveting . . . Johnston excels at descriptions, peppered with period details that make this book a picturesque reading experience."--Buried Under Romance The passionate Westerns in Joan Johnston's Bitter Creek series can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order: TEXAS BRIDE * WYOMING BRIDE * MONTANA BRIDE * SINFUL * SHAMELESS * BLACKTHORNE'S BRIDE * SULLIVAN'S PROMISE… (more)

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I've received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.5*

Review in Portuguese: http://pepitamagica.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/livro-blackthornes-bride-de-joan.html


This book was a bit odd. Not because it was bad, on the contrary, but sometimes it created contradictory feelings.

Marcus Wharton, Duke of Blackthorne, always kept me guessing. Heroic enough to save a girl and almost lose his life doing it, but not enough to deliver her directly to a safe haven. I know he “hands” her over to his friend and almost brother-in-law, but still. If I had saved someone and made sure they survived taking care of them, I wouldn’t have them with someone else at the end. Even if there was a nuance to consider.

Same thing with the “abandonment” of his nephews. For someone who said that loved them, a small letter from a governess shouldn’t be enough. At least (more in my opinion, but let’s keep a low bar) a visit once a year, to be sure they were well fed and well taken care of and were learning what they needed to learn. I agreed with the female lead character – Marcus should have sent the boys to live with him, but I understand that at the beginning, it might have been a difficult decision – but not forever.

Josie is strong-minded and she is determined to get her revenge for being left in England and not sent back home to America, and made a maid in her supposed-to-be rescuer's country house. She also wants to avenge the two boys that the duke left almost abandoned at that same house. When the opportunity arises, Josie was a bit torn about going straight home or getting her revenge, for herself and the boys, which she planned to take with her to America. Choosing the second option, Josie tricks the duke, thinking him the horrible villain, but she then starts to realize that he is a broken man, who is still suffering, and he actually believes that the girl he saved is back home with her family and that his nephews are happier in the country where they can play, than with him in the city. Josie basically tells him that he should think for himself, that he should open his eyes and see that he deals with his matters himself, and not shove them to someone else, even if he trusts them – that’s how he got into this mess.

I realized right from the beginning how everything got mixed up, but I believe the point the author wanted to make was that there wasn’t a “real” villain, but just people who were flawed and did what they thought was right even though it was wrong.

In the end, it was a nice book, because Josie managed to entice me and made Marcus understand his mistakes and correct them. And, in the end, as is should be, all the family gets back together in America, for a visit with the characters from the previous books of the series (which I haven’t read). A happy ending, no doubt.
( )
  Joana_v_v | Aug 10, 2018 |
Good conclusion to the Mail Order Brides series. In the earlier books, the four sisters had all taken steps to escape the horror of their lives in a Chicago orphanage after their parents' deaths. Josie was captured by renegade Sioux warriors, and in the prologue of this book is whipped by one of her captors because she resisted. Marcus, Duke of Blackthorne, and his friend David, Earl of Seaton, happen upon the scene. Horrified by what he sees, Marcus buys Josie from the Indian, determined to save her. Unwilling to leave her behind to recover, Marcus takes her with him back to England, nursing her himself during the journey. As he is to be married to David's sister on his return home, he charges his friend with making certain that Josie is returned to her family in America once she is healed.

Two years later, Josie is practically a prisoner at one of the Duke's estates, working as a maid and caring for the Duke's two orphaned nephews. She is furious at the Duke, both for his broken promise to her and for his neglect of his nephews. She has written to him numerous times with no response and her anger at him continues to grow. Her life takes a sudden and drastic change when she is visited by a Pinkerton detective. She is stunned when he informs her that her sisters have been searching for her for two years and that she has inherited a significant amount of money. She decides to use that money to bribe Marcus to allow her to take his nephews back to America with her. That decision undergoes a change when she discovers that he is looking for a rich American to marry to save his estates. I loved Josie's spirit and determination to protect the two little boys she has come to love.

Marcus's life since his return has not been an easy one. His father died, leaving the estate in debt. His brother also died, leaving Marcus to care for his two nephews. His beloved wife also died, along with their son, after an illness she had hidden from him. Though he doesn't want to marry again, he needs an heir and the wherewithal to restore his estates. Throughout it all, he has never forgotten the girl he rescued and has often wondered how she is and why she has never contacted him. Marcus irritated me at the beginning with the way he had neglected to follow up on his promise to Josie. He also seemed far too willing to depend on other people's word instead of checking things out himself.

I enjoyed the meeting between Josie and Marcus. He doesn't recognize her as the woman he rescued, and he never knew her name. Josie is determined to dislike Marcus, based on his broken promise and neglect of his nephews. Neither expects the buzz of attraction between them. It was fun to see Marcus begin to regret the bargain that he had made, promising that he would not seek out the physical side of their marriage past their wedding night. Josie keeps the secret of her identity as she still plans to leave him as soon as she can. But as they spend their honeymoon preparing to restore his main estate, they begin to get to know each other. There are some terrific scenes as Josie's American outlook butts up against Marcus's British reserve. Josie discovers that Marcus is not the unfeeling man she thought he was. Marcus is stunned when he discovers the truth about Josie. The attraction between them continues to grow as do their feelings, though neither is ready to admit it.

As Josie fights with herself over her best course of action, family crises create complications. One of Marcus's sisters disappears, and Marcus and Josie embark on a search for her. Josie receives word that one of her sisters is fighting for her life. Josie and Marcus become separated, and he discovers the truth behind what happened to Josie. I wasn't surprised by who was behind it, though the reasoning was somewhat incredible. Josie's fear for her sister causes her to act precipitously and by the time she realizes that she may have made a mistake it's too late to change course. I liked their big moment at the end as they finally admit to their feelings. I loved the epilogue as the family is reunited.

I enjoyed the occasional update on the other sisters as they waited to hear that Josie has been found and is on her way home. I also liked Marcus's sisters and their immediate acceptance of Josie into the family. There is a good secondary storyline involving one of those sisters that shows Marcus's love and protectiveness for his family, even though he sometimes has a hard time showing it. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Feb 18, 2018 |
Blackthorne's Bride by Joan Johnston
#4 Mail Order Brides
3*

I received an advanced digital copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've read many of Joan Johnston's novels, most of which I think are really enjoyable. This particular book is connected to her 35 "Bitter Creek" novels which include several different series. The various characters often pop up in subsequent books, different locales and generations of family members. This is the fourth and last in the "Mail Order Brides" series which centers around a family of children who were orphaned by the Great Chicago Fire and eventually escaped the orphanage they were living in by answering a mail order bride advertisement. Along the way, they are kicked out of their wagon train and end up being overrun by some renegade--please note that distinction--Sioux (American Plains) Indians. Some of the family members are injured, some are stolen away. Their family is separated. The previous stories show us where they end up: Texas, Wyoming, and Montana.

This story picks up with the final missing member of the family, Josephine Wentworth, who has been captured and is in the midst of being flogged with a bullwhip by one of the renegades when she is rescued by Marcus Wharton, Duke of Blackthorne, who is adventuring in America. Through his interpreter, he is able to make a trade for the girl. She is so courageous and stoic through her beating that she earns his admiration, and he feels a sense of protectiveness toward her. He ends up treating her injuries himself during the sea voyage back to England, where he then makes arrangements for her continued care and return voyage back to America once she has recovered. (Huh. Why he made her take that long voyage just to return her, I'll never know.) His request is not exactly fulfilled according to his wishes, however, unbeknownst to him.

Her injuries were so bad that she was never able to tell him her name and he never saw what she looked like fully recovered, but the memory of her unbreakable courage--and her scars--stayed with him, even through a marriage and the eventual deaths of both his beloved wife and their unborn child.

Due to mismanagement by relatives, the financial status of his holdings are dismal and he is in desperate need of money in order to make repairs and provide wages for servants and staff. He decides to place an advertisement in American papers offering marriage to a wealthy socialite who wishes to obtain the title of "duchess". One of the last-minute applicants is Josie, who knows who he is and has ulterior motives for wanting to marry him.

Although they both have an immediate attraction to each other which feels almost fated, there is such a lack of honest communication between the two, specifically due to Josie's failure to be honest with Marcus about who she is and why she is really there. Instead, there is a lot of sneaking around and machinations so that she can either hide her scars which would give her away, or because she keeps secretly meeting with a Pinkerton agent.

Their time together was enjoyable because they innately try to protect each other and help alleviate any emotional pain the other may be going through; however, all the secrecy was unnecessary and exhausting. I personally dislike excessive angst, so Josie's dishonesty and the "too stupid to live" behaviors involving another character in a secondary story line stressed me out a bit. The ending was also tidied up rather quickly with a lot of big events and time leaps happening within the last few pages. All in all, the story itself was fun to read, but for my personal tastes, it just didn't come across as tight as most of Johnston's work. ( )
  AddictedToMorphemes | Jun 26, 2017 |
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. It was not a bad book, but not a great one. I ready Wyoming bridge a couple of years ago, and wanted to read the conclusion, the twin sister that was captured, which is Josie. Marcus saves Josie from the indians after she was tortured, poor girl. What I did not like was that, if he was not going to stay after developing feelings for her while tending to her injuries, then give her to her family, but no he gives her to friends to take care of her. Of course, things do not work out that way, she is working as a maid, practically a servant, and is protecting Marcus's neglected nephews, so she develops hatred for Marcus, understandable and justified. Marcus loses his wife, and the whole time, supposedly he could not forget Josie, yeah right, so that is why you never inquired about her well being, I could not accept that. Josie, finds out her family is looking for her and she is an heiress, she plans on marrying Marcus, to keep his nephews, but develops feeling for him. Eventually they have an HEA.. To each its own, I couldn't do it. ( )
  NelisPelusa | Jun 5, 2017 |
I waited a looooooooong time for this story and I can only say this: It was damn worth it!

This is the fourth book in Mail-Order Brides series (‘Texas Bride’ by Joan Johnston, ‘Wyoming Bride’ by Joan Johnston, and ‘Montana Bride’ by Joan Johnston I loved), and it was worth the wait.

I know that mail-order bride tropes are dime-a-dozen out there and sometimes I’m really skeptical about them, but this series in this authors hands was one of the best I’ve ever read. The reason for it is because the trope takes second place to the characterization, so that the story is character-driven.

To better understand the character and story of Josie, the youngest Wentworth sister, I highly recommend you read all three books before this one. I think you’ll get the dynamic of this family and their history much better. You’ll find out what happened to Josie and what shaped her character. As heroines go, she was everything we can only dream of being, smart, strong willed, loyal and witty. My heart went out to this young woman who has endured so much heartache yet remained optimistic and hopeful.

Our hero, Marcus, was a complex man and I needed some time to fully warm up to him, even though he’d exhibited plenty of good qualities.

I was truly happy to see the ending included all the Wentworth’s and their families. It was like a cherry on top of my sundae!

If you like western romance then this author and her books, this series included, must be on your list.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher ( )
  bookworm2bookworm | Mar 30, 2017 |
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Bitter Creek (Mail-Order Bride bk 4 - Book 16)
Mail-Order Bride (Aug 2016 - Book 4)
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A rogue nobleman, a rescued lady, and revenge undone by romance all play a part in New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston's irresistible novel of best-laid plots, delicious deception, and unexpected passion.   Two years have passed since Josie Wentworth was bought from the Sioux for a gold watch and whisked back to England by Marcus Wharton, the Duke of Blackthorne. When Marcus breaks his promise to return Josie to America, she ends up as a maid in the home of his charming but neglected nephews. Once Josie's long-lost family finds her, however, the suddenly wealthy heiress sets out to save the two boys from their indifferent uncle--and teach the duke a lesson in honor.   Learning that Marcus is seeking a rich American bride to save his estate, Josie plots to catch his eye--certain he'll never recognize the beauty she's become as the ragged captive he rescued. But Josie doesn't wager on her marital charade taking a tender turn, as the nobleman she's despised for years proves to be a very different man than she's imagined. And there's no denying his passionate caresses, as she falls deeper under the spell of a husband determined to claim her heart. Praise for Blackthorne's Bride   "[Joan] Johnston's gloriously dramatic twelfth Bitter Creek novel, the fourth installment in her Mail Order Bride subseries, whisks readers across the Atlantic. . . . [This] page-turner is replete with romantic angst, sizzling sex, and the promise of an enduring love."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Second chances, marriage of convenience, revenge, reconnection, and redemption . . . Blackthorne's Bride is another winner from Joan Johnston that gives readers a delicious story of love, laughter, forgiveness, and family."--Smexy Books   "Blackthorne's Bride is a sweeping tale that takes you from the Wild West . . . to Regency England. [It's] a feisty and surprisingly enticing romance that takes you on an adventure through the city streets of London and the countryside."--Addicted to Romance   "Riveting . . . Johnston excels at descriptions, peppered with period details that make this book a picturesque reading experience."--Buried Under Romance The passionate Westerns in Joan Johnston's Bitter Creek series can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order: TEXAS BRIDE * WYOMING BRIDE * MONTANA BRIDE * SINFUL * SHAMELESS * BLACKTHORNE'S BRIDE * SULLIVAN'S PROMISE

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