Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Wedding Wager

A Wedding Wager by Jane Feather 710

The Honorable Sebastian Sullivan falls in love with Lady Serena Grantley, but because of her dependence on her step-father she is forced to break his heart so that she and her step-father can run away to Brussels. General Hayword, her step-father, has always stayed one step ahead of the law, opening up gambling houses, and Serena knows to do what he tells her. Three years later they are back in London and though she hopes to avoid Sebastian, London is not that big of a town. Sebastian needs to marry a woman of questionable morals in order to fulfill the terms of his uncle's will so that he and his brother's can inherit quite a large amount of money. He wants to forget about Serena, and has been semi successful over the last 3 years, but he cannot keep his mind off of her. Serena knows that Hayword intends to marry the young Abigail Sutton, an heiress from a trade family whose mother wants her to marry well, and Serena is determined to thwart his plans.

A trick of fate throws Sebastian into the Sutton's orbit as well so it becomes even more difficult for the two of them to avoid each other. The passion they had felt for each other years ago is far from gone and even though the two of them both feel like there can be no future they arrange to sneak off together and indulge themselves. However, Sebastian quickly comes to the realization that he wants, he needs, Serena in his life and it is only a bonus that his uncle regards Serena as a fallen lady so she would fulfill the terms of the will. But Serena has lived all of her adult life under the thumb of a domineering man and is wary of placing herself under Sebastian's power and she refuses to let go of her plan to keep her step-father away from young Abigail. So Sebastian agrees to help her in this endeavor so he can get her to marry him and they find help in Abigail's true love and set out to win over the Mrs. Sutton. But the General has one more trick up his sleeve that threatens Sebastian and Serena's relationship forever, and they must make one final go so that they can have their happily ever after.

The biggest hole in the book permeated everything from the very beginning so I need to address it at the beginning of the review. Serena's refusal to leave her step-father just seems absolutely ridiculous weather at the beginning, when she first falls in love, and then later when she and Sebastian are reunited. During their first fall in love I couldn't figure out what hold her step-father had on her except for money and Sebastian wasn't that broke and they would not have starved so why didn't she just leave him? Then later her excuse that she wanted to save Abigail just came across as ridiculous and caused her so much grief. She didn't want to tell anyone the truth about her evil step-father because they would take Abigail away from London and deprive her of a season but that seemed a small price to pay. Instead she stayed with a man who abused her and really killed her mother even though she should have just left him in the beginning. This was a really big hurdle to get over and even while I liked the rest of the book this really provided a ridiculous background for the rest of the book so I couldn't forget it.

Sebastian and Serena were both typical romance novel characters; he was strong and broody and she was beautiful and able to take care of herself (although we know she would do better with a man cause she made some bad decisions). The only thing that was surprising about him was that he wasn't rolling in the dough and possess great financial acumen. Their relationship was quick to develop because they had already done the whole meet and fall in love thing and I wish I had gotten more of a look into what drew these two together. They both forgave each other very quickly over what happened which surprised me, but there was still a really large amount of angst on both their parts. The sex was more frequent than I was expecting and spread throughout a lot of the book but it was not really that steamy or hot; really kind of bland. My favorite part really was the romance between Abigail and her beau and the relationship between Abigail's parents. I liked getting to read from the POV of many different characters and Feather certainly developed all of them very well. The book was just a little too long though- 450 pages.

Review: I did enjoy this book although I wish it had been shorter and it easily could have been if there hadn't been quite so much of Serena's reluctance to leave her step-father.

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