A Hint of Wicked

A Touch of Scandal

Confessions of an Improper Bride
by Jennifer Haymore
(Forever, $7.99, PG-13) 978-0-446-57314-6
Confessions of an Improper Bride is the beginning of a new series by Jennifer Haymore. It is a historical romance that is deeply emotional and profoundly moving.

Serena Donovan had been caught. At the age of 18, she fell in love with Jonathan Dane, was scandalously caught with him and is now headed back to her family in Antigua disgraced. When Jonathan had a chance to stand-up for her, he turned his back and in that moment broke Serena’s heart. Her twin sister Meg had also found love in London to the respectable Will Langley, but she is also headed home with Serena.

During a stroll on desk, the ship dips in rough waters and a boom swings around throwing Meg off balance. Caught in the trailing ropes, Meg is sweep off the deck and into the dark waters. The ship circles for hours trying to find her, but Meg is gone. Serena is devastated and it only makes her disgraceful behavior that much worse.

It has now been six years. Serena finds herself headed back to London on a mission with one of her younger sisters, Phoebe. Her mother has concocted a plan to save the family’s reputation and it all lies in Serena’s hands. Serena’s mother unknowingly sent word to London that Serena had died and has been corresponding with Langley over the last six years as Meg. Langley has now offered marriage to Meg and Serena is being sent to London to pose as Meg. After her marriage to Langley, the reputation of the Donovan family will be restored and Phoebe and the two younger sisters can make their way in London society for a promising future.

Despite the heartbreak, Serena still loves Jonathan, but reluctantly decides to go through with the plan to pose as Meg. She doesn’t think her path will cross with Jonathan, but if it does, she will just have to remind herself of his deception. A week after her arrival, Meg accompanies Will to her official reintroduction to society party. To her surprise, Jonathan is there and she is immediately on edge. As she tries to escape for some fresh air, Will gathers Jonathan to say hello. Jonathan is shocked and calls her Serena. Serena is frightened that her ruse is already in jeopardy, but Jonathan quickly corrects himself.

Jonathan Dane is now the Earl of Stratford. Since hearing of Serena’s death six years ago, he has set out to destroy his life living loose and immoral. He was young and foolish and regrets not standing up for Serena when it mattered. The pressures of his family had overwhelmed him in his immaturity and it cost Serena her life. When he sees Meg again, the feelings of regret and loss come flooding back. He would never forget Serena, but there is something about Meg that is off. While Serena and Meg were identical twins, he never had a problem telling them apart.

Confessions of an Improper Bride is a gripping story of long lost regrets and second chances. The writing allows the reader to get deeply involved and the emotional struggles of Serena are palpable. The story flows well and is engaging.

While the scenario of switching identifies is somewhat far-fetched, the situation as presented is believable. The implications of indiscretion in London during the 1800s easily justify the need for protecting ones place in society.

There are two plot lines going on in this book. Serena’s triangle with Jonathan and Will is the main story. Phoebe’s love at first sight with a young untitled man is the other. This sub-plot is very important in Serena realizing her feelings. I liked this in the story since so many books have the character in deep self-realization without a true catalyst to get him / her there.

There are more books to come in this series and I’m looking forward to reading about the other Donovan sisters and hopefully further learning about the future of the characters in this book. Confessions of an Improper Bride is a great start to this series and I would recommend it to all romance novel fans.

--Nichole Howell

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