Review – The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

About the Book:

A bride wasn’t in his plans . . .

The last thing Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, expects to see after sleeping off a night’s drunken shenanigans is a woman being auctioned in the village square. Before he can think about the ramifications, he buys her, thinking he’s winning the girl her freedom. Instead, he discovers he’s bought a wife.

A duke wasn’t in hers . . .

Alyse Bell is almost rid of the shackles that bound her in a name-only marriage, but the day her friend promised to purchase her in a wife auction, he vanishes, leaving her to face a mob of unsavory bachelors intent on owning her body and soul. But the appearance of a wicked, wealthy stranger changes her path forever.

The road to ruin . . .

Marcus doesn’t know what to do with the impertinent chit who clearly isn’t duchess material! Insisting their marriage isn’t legitimate, they leave for his estate in Scotland, hoping to devise a plan to get rid of each other. However, on a journey fraught with misadventure, their attraction grows and Marcus realizes he’ll do anything to keep this fiery woman for his own.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                  The Duke Buys a Bride: The Rogue Files

My Review:                   

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Alyse Bell’s father is dying, and he wants to provide for his soon-to-be-orphaned fifteen year old daughter.  He arranges a marriage (in name only) to his friend, with the understanding that Alyse will basically care for his home and children.  When the last child has left home to live his own life, Alyse will be “sold” in a bride sale, where her childhood friend will buy her and take her for his wife.  Unfortunately, her young love got very cold feet, and was last seen racing out of town, leaving a humiliated Alyse on the auction block, being leered at, and bid upon like an animal.

Marcus Weatherton, Duke Antenberry , has left his home in London, intent on leaving his troubles and disappointments behind him, as he seeks solitude in his Scottish estate.  After a particularly rough night, he is intent on leaving this particular small town in his dust, when he sees a young woman being auctioned off.  He sees the look of disgust and terror on her face as she reacts to the man about to buy her, and he decides that he will purchase her, then set her free.  Though the paperwork says that she is now his wife, he’s confident that is not legal.

As they leave town, Alyse riding a mule because there were no horses available, Marcus learns that she has no family or friends he can send her to.  When he realizes that she is properly educated, and is experienced in running a house, he offers her the position of housekeeper at his Scottish estate.  They set off on their two week journey with Alyse being wary and expecting to be pounced upon at any given moment, and Marcus determined to avoid any physical intimacy.

Alyse’s fear of being attacked gradually lessens as they’ve been forced to share a bed on several occasions without Marcus taking advantage of her.  When she wakes to find herself wrapped up in his arms, she can’t help but “explore” a little bit, which arouses not only Marcus’s passion, but also his suspicion.  No doubt she’d like to become his wife in truth, something Marcus is determined will not happen.  The road trip is fraught with simmering attraction, frustration, and some adventure.

Marcus is basically a kind and honorable, but very closed off man, determined to be the opposite of his dreadful father.  I liked him, while at the same time did not really sympathize with his reasons for leaving his home and family.  Alyse was forced into an impossible and humiliating situation, and appeared (rightly so) beaten down by life, but then she began to show some spirit, and started making some plans to gain a bit of control over her own life.  As a couple, I definitely felt their physical chemistry, but not so much genuine love.  Marcus does make an uncharacteristic significant show of emotion when it appears he is going to lose Alyse.

The whole bride sale scenario is just a total turnoff for me,  though, they apparently really happened. (Remember THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE?)  It made me wonder about the actual legality of it, especially in regard to someone with the status of duke.  Would there be any question of the legitimacy of any future heirs?  I would have liked to see that explored or explained a bit more.  I’m a huge fan of epilogues, and in THE DUKE BUYS A BRIDE, we get a glimpse of their life five years down the road. While Marcus chose a path I felt let him take the easy way out, I was assured of his and Alyse’s love and their happy ever after together.   ~Rose

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