All were shocked at the announcement of the “cursed” Lady Claire Cavensham to Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, especially since she is already engaged to another unfortunate Lord. Perhaps she will make it to the altar this time with one of these fine gentlemen! Midnight Cryer
No one is left breathless at the imperious pronouncement of her engagement to Lord Pembrooke more than Claire. She hardly knows the dangerously outrageous man! But after three engagements gone awry and a fourth going up in glorious flames, she isn’t in a position to refuse...
Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancée in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper...
“Full-bodied romance...with intelligence and heart."Cathy Maxwell
"Captivating characters and a romance that sizzles."Eloisa James
"Will leave you swooning."Sabrina Jeffries
The Bad Luck Bride is the first in a new Regency romance series from Janna MacGregor!
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The Bad Luck Bride
By Janna MacGregor
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 JLWR, LLC
All rights reserved.
January 1811 Dorchester
The raw wind pounded every inch of Alexander's body and lashed at what little remained of his compassion. As Marquess of Pembrooke, Alex had fought for years to cultivate the fine art of patience. Today proved that to have been a waste of time.
He should have ignored the lessons of forbearance and studied the intricacies of inflicting vengeance. Never again would he take for granted the epithet of "friend" — not when friend meant betrayer. The barren, snow-packed field was a perfect stage for a duel. Mere feet separated him from Lord Paul Barstowe, the man who had destroyed his family.
Alex's bay stallion edged closer to Lord Paul's white gelding. From this distance, the weather-roughened face of Lord Paul, the second son of the Duke of Southart, failed to mar Alex's childhood memories. In their youth they'd been inseparable. They'd witnessed each other's milestones. They'd celebrated each other's successes and suffered through the failures. Their friendship should have lasted until their deaths. Instead, it died instantly when Alex found his sister's letter explaining her suicide.
"Alice is dead." The bay stomped and blew out a breath of steam. By rote, Alex stilled the beast with a soft pat. Nothing good would come from delay. His eyes burned. The north wind's fury strengthened, but he refused to turn away. "I buried her two days ago."
Lord Paul tilted his head and flexed his gloved fingers. "I'm sorry for your loss."
Alex attributed the numbness that had invaded his body to grief and the weeklong bitter cold. He pushed the misery aside and subdued the anger that nipped at his sanity. Even if his pursuit of justice caused his own blood to stain the snow, the sacrifice would bring some peace. Bile took refuge in his throat. He dismissed it with a hard swallow.
Alice Aubrey Hallworth, his youngest sister, lay in the Pembrooke family crypt. A week ago, she'd laughed and charmed the entire family at dinner. When they'd finished the evening meal, she had excused herself, then taken a tonic before bed.
She never woke.
Now, there was nothing left but Lord Paul. How one so dissolute could ruin one so young was a question Alex would never understand. He drew a gulp of air in a desperate attempt to keep his pain buried deep inside.
Alex tightened the reins. "She was carrying your child."
In the distance, a disturbance arose, upsetting the desolate, snow-encrusted field. From the west, a man upon a black horse raced across the icy stretch of open land. Time was of the essence. Lord Paul had to agree to the duel before Nicholas St. Mauer, the Earl of Somerton, arrived. It had been a mistake to tell Somerton his plan.
"How do you know the child was mine?" Lord Paul's voice rose in defiance.
"She left a note and told me not to blame you. But now, all those times I encountered you both together during the fall hunting party and the holidays —" The words and memories made Alex physically sick; the nausea churned in his belly. "She was happy. I thought it all above suspicion."
Alex waited for Lord Paul to show some remorse, even if only to ask if Alice had suffered. As the silence lengthened, the weight of the two flintlock pistols in his pockets offered the only comfort he'd accept this day.
By this time, Somerton had closed the distance by half. Clouds of snow rose from the ground, the peace disrupted by the horse's churning hooves.
"How unfortunate for all." Lord Paul squinted toward the rider.
"Indeed." Alex leaned forward as his entire body tensed. He fought the desire to reach inside his jacket for one of the pistols. Instead, he coaxed his horse to stand within inches of Lord Paul's white gelding. "Do me the simple courtesy of looking at me."
Lord Paul made no move in his direction.
The unrelenting need to hear the man's betrayal and remorse firsthand spurred Alex to continue. "How could you seduce Alice, then abandon her like a piece of refuse on the street? How could you leave her with child?"
"I don't suppose telling you I had nothing to do with it will change our situation." Lord Paul finally looked at Alex. "She pursued me —"
"Damn you." Alex's voice rang out like a shot across the empty field. "Why didn't you stay with her? You should have done the honorable thing and married her."
As the last words faded, Lord Paul's face paled. "Careful, Pembrooke. Don't rush to a judgment you'll regret."
"We'll settle it, here and now." Before Alex uttered the rest of the challenge, the Earl of Somerton arrived on horseback and came to an abrupt stop.
Lord Paul held his hand away from his face to block the swirl of snow that engulfed him at the arrival of the earl.
Somerton brought his mount forward to separate the two men and their horses. The earl's jaw clenched, and his eyes narrowed. "Pembrooke, enough!"
"Dashing entrance, Somerton." Lord Paul's smile was pure provocation. "Come to save him? Too late. Your friend is well on his way to hell in a handcart."
"You'd best leave." Somerton's voice thickened with emotion. "Now."
Alex refused to acknowledge the interruption. Lord Paul was his sole concern. "You will pay for your treachery tonight." He cared nothing about facing a trial in the House of Lords for killing the man in a duel of honor.
Somerton blocked Alex's view and reached for the horse's bridle. "Pembrooke." The timbre of his friend's voice turned mellow and even, as if trying to tame a wild animal. "Alex, come on, old man."
Whatever he had done in the past to deserve Somerton's loyalty was a curse today. In one tug of the reins, Alex coaxed the horse away from the earl's grasp. "No. I will finish this one way or the other." Resolved to deliver a day of reckoning for Lord Paul's deception, he turned to face him. "We don't need the luxury of surgeons or seconds."
Somerton moved his horse forward and demanded, "Lord Paul, leave." The snowfall stopped as if on command as the earl raised his hand to slap the hindquarters of the white gelding.
"Somerton, stay out of this!" Alex's outcry caused a flutter of movement in the nearby trees as several birds fled.
Before the earl dropped his hand, the horse bolted. Lord Paul fled into the nearby woods and the oncoming night.
Alex reached with his right hand and grasped the handle of a pistol. As he pulled the heavy weight from his pocket, his conscience made a spontaneous and regrettable appearance. He bit off an oath, then slowly released his hold.
The fallen snow had deadened every sound except the subtle creaking of Somerton's leather saddle as he shifted his weight. Alex's grief, still raw, scored his every breath, his every thought, his every hope of future happiness.
He would not live this way. He'd find another way to force Lord Paul to atone for his sins. Memories of Alice, once bright and clear, were now stained a dirty umber.
Sleet replaced the snow. Raising his face to the gray sky, Alex embraced the razor-sharp pelt of ice against his skin. When he became accustomed to the stinging pain, he broke the silence in a steady voice. "I will take everything from him. I do not care the cost or sacrifice. Everything he holds dear will be mine."CHAPTER 2
April 1812 London — The Reynolds Gambling Establishment
Lord Paul repeatedly slapped his gloves in the palm of his hand. Again. And again. The movement reminded Alex of an angry cat twitching its tail when treed by a persistent hound.
"You bought my vowels?" Lord Paul's face darkened with disbelief.
Alex raised an eyebrow and lifted the corners of his mouth, though there was no humor in the moment. "No need to thank me."
Lord Paul narrowed his ice-blue eyes. "When hell freezes or there are thirty Thursdays in February. Whichever occurs first."
Alex ignored the sarcasm and withdrew a piece of paper from his coat pocket. "I agree to pay all your gambling debts, including the ones from today. In exchange, you give me the deed to your Dorchester property, Willow House." He lowered his voice and handed the single sheet of paper to his nemesis. "Also, you will sign this."
Lord Paul snatched the paper from his hand. He didn't spare a glance at the entrance of Alex's two solicitors.
The suffocating weight lifted from Alex's chest. Tonight, after months of devising the proper punishment, he could breathe freely again. His honor had dictated such satisfaction. Alice and her baby were dead, and nothing would bring them back, but the retribution he delivered would alleviate Lord Paul's betrayal.
Alex forced himself to appear calm, but his fist itched to take a swing at the swine in front of him. "Sign the note, and we're through. You're safe from your creditors, and this outrageous circus you created."
Lord Paul finished reading and looked up with a start. "You bloody bastard! If I give up Lady Claire, I won't be able to pay my debts. I'm as much as ruined."
"She's not your responsibility anymore." If he had it within his power, no woman would be Lord Paul's concern ever again.
Lord Paul's angry demeanor slipped when a brief hint of panic widened his eyes. With a blink it was gone, but Alex knew he'd scored a deep blow. "You ruin me, you'll destroy Lady Claire, too. She can't afford the scandal of another broken engagement. Besides, she's a lovelorn calf. Can't keep away from me. Of course, I oblige her."
"What are you suggesting?" Alex leaned across the green felt gaming table. It took every ounce of self-control not to kill the miscreant before him. The thought that Lord Paul had ruined another innocent made his gut turn. "Careful of your answer. If the Duke of Langham heard —"
"Don't be tedious. Of course I've had her." Lord Paul's face twisted into a smirk. "You can force me to sign it, but what good will it do? If need be, I'll marry her by special license tomorrow. The chit would be ecstatic and think it romantic."
"If you make the attempt, I'll know. Any foolish move on your part, I'll sell you back to your creditors. A rather nasty lot prone to violence, I hear." Alex mimicked Lord Paul's tic by popping his own gloves into his palm. The sound echoed through the room like a whip against bare skin.
With a hatred unmasked for all to witness, Lord Paul glared at Alex. Both knew there was no other recourse. With minimum movement, he dipped the quill into the inkwell and signed the note.
As casually as possible, Alex took possession of the paper and sprinkled sand over the signature.
Lord Paul leaned close. "I didn't realize I was worth this much to you."
"You aren't, but Alice was." Alex drew a breath for patience and summoned every speck of poise he'd collected over his lifetime. "You should have played deeper. I'd have paid much more."
He threw the black greatcoat over his shoulders and walked to the door with the paper in hand. With each step, part of the burden fell further away. Yet his own remorse lingered and weighed heavy on his conscience. He should have taken greater care with Alice. Too engaged in the daily management of his estate, he had missed numerous opportunities to spend time with her. What had she hoped for her future? Had she looked forward to her debut in society? Now, he'd never know. He should have seen Alice's humor and good cheer were nothing more than masks to hide her pain.
He took one last look at Lord Paul. The bastard would soon realize the extent to which he was ruined. "It was fortuitous I didn't kill you, as that would have been too easy. I'd much rather see you suffer as Alice did." He breathed in the stale remnants of cheroots, cheap spirits, and Lord Paul's desperation. The combination was a heady scent, one he'd remember until his dying day. For the first time since he'd discovered Alice dead, he felt alive.
His solicitors would expound every excruciating clause in detail, but Alex could explain it in far easier terms. He had crushed Lord Paul. To put the final nail in the coffin, he would attend this evening's ball, where he would ask for Lady Claire's hand.
She would need him when her engagement to Lord Paul ended.
With little success, Alex tried to quash the truth that forced its way into his thoughts. He needed her as much as, if not more than, she needed him.
There was only one problem. He needed to persuade her to ruin herself and jilt her fourth fiancé.
* * *
Alex was actually looking forward to Lady Anthony's ball. Normally these functions were a bore, akin to a fatal, gut-churning plague, but not tonight's event. He was eager to dance and converse with Lady Claire, the woman he would convince to marry him. He studied the perimeter of the dance floor from the second-floor balcony. The dance crowd slowed to a stop. The graceful sway of the ladies' dresses didn't hold his interest. Only one woman commanded his attention tonight.
He would recognize that radiant crown of dark red anywhere. Lady Claire's hair was a beacon, guiding his gaze. The last time they had met, she had been a tall, gawky girl who had reminded him of a skittish filly. A rare frisson of excitement caught him by surprise. She was no longer such a creature burgeoning into adulthood, but a lovely woman.
Lady Claire Cavensham, the only child of the late Duke of Langham, laughed with a group of young women. From the corner of the ballroom, a liveried footman walked in her direction with a note, the claret color of the Barstowe family stationery recognizable even from the second floor.
The horror of the moment pummeled him as hard as a direct punch. "The bastard," Alex said under his breath. The insipid arse hadn't possessed the decency to see her in person.
The footman moved closer to Lady Claire, and time slowed to a crawl. The scene below unfolded like the few seconds before a carriage accident. A person saw the wreck coming but lacked the ability to stop the damage.
Regret bled into his musings. She was hardly at fault. With haste, he made his way downstairs in an attempt to lessen the damage. With a bit of luck, he could intercept the footman before he delivered the note.
Alex dodged several guests as he made his way to Lady Claire. It would be inexcusable to run through the throng of attendees, but that didn't stop him from ignoring several greetings from friends as he passed. Only twenty feet separated him from saving her.
"Pembrooke! What the hell are you doing here?" A euphoric Lord Fredrick Honeycutt blocked Alex's path. "I haven't seen you in ages. Are you headed to the card room?"
"Not now, Honeycutt. I'll find you later." With a brief nod, Alex sidestepped the man and continued toward Lady Claire.
The footman extended the silver salver containing the missive. She pursed her brow before her eyes grew wide. She must have recognized the color of the stationery. In a barely perceivable instant, she masked her concern. With a slight smile, she nodded and took the note.
Alex's gut slammed to the floor as she stepped away from her friends and with a flick of her finger broke the seal.
* * *
Bloody hell. Claire wanted to scream the words aloud as she crushed the note in her hand. The thick paper's sharp edges, a painful reminder of its contents, gouged her palms through her cream-colored satin gloves.
She held the note from her fourth fiancé. Short, terse, and in an annoyingly elegant hand, Lord Paul informed her that he would not be attending their engagement announcement. The words were nothing more than a release from another promise of everlasting matrimony.
True, she did not love Lord Paul, but she had thought of him as a friend. Perhaps, over time, a friend she could have learned to love. There was no denying what had happened tonight.
The hateful curse had struck again.
One more sorry rejection she could add to her collection. Dazed, Claire bowed her head in shame, her glance skimming the beautiful engagement dress, a confection designed and carefully crafted to celebrate tonight's betrothal announcement. Within the hour, she had planned to dance with Lord Paul in front of the guests, her gown sweeping the curse out of the ballroom and out of her life. Now, all she had in her future was the humiliation that waited for her once the ton heard she had suffered yet another broken betrothal. Only this time, the ton would have a front-row seat.
All she'd ever wanted was a family of her own. To have a family, she had to marry. Truthfully, she wasn't particular whom she married — just determined.
She blinked to make certain she wasn't dreaming. "Ruined" did not express the calamity of the evening. The term might have explained her situation two fiancés ago, but "destroyed" was a more apt description of the night. She dreaded the inevitable snorts and snickers from onlookers when they pounced upon the discovery that her fourth fiancé had taken the much heeded advice and jilted her a mere hour before the announcement.
Excerpted from The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor. Copyright © 2017 JLWR, LLC. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hoping to find a good read. No, not so. Really slow and to much talk. I couldn't connect with Alex or Clair. I could not finish it. Grrrr
“The Bad Luck Bride” is the start of a new series with another book on its way in November. This book is the store of Claire and Alex. Claire has suffered traumatic events in her early life that have left her with some serious emotional issues. She is deathly afraid of crossing over rivers in a coach and even more so of thunderstorms. Add to that, she has had a number of betrothals but never a wedding. While there have been understandable explanations for all instances, it has still earned her the reputation of being “cursed” when it comes to marriage. It looks like this will end with her official engagement and marriage to Lord Paul. Alex is getting over the death of his beloved sister, whose demise he blames on Lord Paul. Alex is determined to keep Claire from suffering as his sister did and intervenes to break up the engagement between Claire and Lord Paul. Instead, Alex is determined to marry Claire himself. With much machinations, the story goes forward with two individuals who have good hearts but whose actions work against their possibility of a happy life together. Claire has her secrets and other issues from childhood and Alex is hiding his part in the more recent problems in Claire's life. With so much standing between them, it seems impossible for the two to work their issues through. The story was interesting both stand-alone and as a first book in a series. There were a number of rather sensuous and somewhat graphic scenes which occur between husband and wife. While there were some fights in the book, the level of violence was not high on the whole. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
I thought the basis for the story was a unique idea--a lady who has had such bad luck with engagements finally gets roped in to marrying one of the most handsome marquesses around. The ulterior motives of Alex, the Marquess of Pembrooke, the groom, are intriguing, but his arrogance and willingness to jump to conclusions kept me from liking his character much. Claire Cavensham seemed to have the weight of the world on her shoulders what with the broken engagements, personal tragedy, and the scorn of the ton. In the rare moments when Claire and Alex were together and happy, you could see that they would make a great team in their married life. However, doom and gloom seemed to hang over them at every turn. And even when it wasn't, one or the other would jump to the wrong conclusion and trouble would soon follow. This is one of my pet peeves about any story--just tell the other person the truth about what is going on! The couple does finally deal with their problems and come out stronger, with a sweet HEA in the end. Several loose ends were left dangling, so I'm sure those will be dealt with in the next books in the series. I'm willing to read more by this author and see what happens.
I loved Alex and Claire's story!! It was a different type of story. I think that Claire was just happy to finally be married, but when she learned of all the deception that Alex perpetuated, she was rightly angry. Their story definitely had many ups and downs, but it was delightful to join them on the ride. I'm excited for the next book in the series.
Alex, Marquess of Pembrooke wants to ruin Lord Paul, who he believes is responsible for Alex's sister committing suicide. Lord Paul is supposed to marry Lady Claire, so Alex makes it impossible for Lord Paul to marry her, and in the process, makes it imperative that Claire marries Alex instead. Claire has lost 2 fiances to death and now has lost Lord Paul, thus the name "Bad Luck Bride". There is an attraction between Alex and Claire, and, after some initial mistrust, they begin to respect and care for each other. There are some secrets that are keeping them from having total trust and completely opening their hearts to each other. This was an intricate story, with deep emotions. There is also a caring cast of characters for each party and for them together as a couple. I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to the upcoming book, The Bride Who Got Lucky.
I loved this book and look forward to the next novel!
This was a page turner for me. It definitely is a dark story with lots of ups and downs, breath holding, and tears. I fell in love with Claire's spirit and determination to marry. Alex was a dog until he proved his real feelings and worked hard to get Claire to see him as a better man. I did not want to put this book down, and I look forward to more from Janna MacGregor. I received a copy of this story through Netgalley, and it is a selection of the Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team. This is my unsolicited review.
Bad luck or just fate. There’s a time a place for everything. Maybe it just wasn’t her time to follow through on a marriage to the wrong man. Maybe things were just not timed right. Maybe there were too many obstacles in the way. Maybe she just needed one to fall in love with. Bad luck was just viewpoint of how you looked at the various situations Claire found herself in. Which leads us to the engagement of herself to the Marquess of Pembrooke while she was engaged to another. This was most certainly some kind of luck for her. Claire and Alex had some kind of start to their engagement. No courtship. No walk in the park. No handholding. Engaged. Married. Each step further allowed for a new layer of lies/deceit/misconception to be added to the rouse. Alex was not playing hero. He was doing this all to get revenge/payback. He did not take in to account the feeling of Lady Claire. There were many other things going on here but as the story progressed we see more of each Alex and Claire. We get to develop a relationship with them to understand them better as individuals and how they could work as a couple. This was not a wham-kinda-read. This was a read that took time and patience. Things came about just when it needed to. This was a learn to sit, crawl, walk, then run.
When Alex seeks to avenge his sister's death by suicide by ruining a man, he chooses Claire to be his bride. Claire, desperate for a family of her own and looking to rid herself of the curse of broken engagements, agrees to marry Alex. Both are guilty of deceit and need to fully give of their hearts as they start to fall in love. Before it's too late. But secrets are revealed and trust is broken; can they find their way back to each other before it's too late. Will they choose forgiveness and love? A great debut novel! **I was provided a copy on netgalley
Beautifully written story with passionate and complex characters that captured my attention with a great paced plot from beginning to end. This is a fantastic debut story by Janna MacGregor. Our couple have endured a past life filled with heartbreak and tragedy, but it is secrets and revenge that brings them together as a couple. Although their relationship started as an act of revenge, over time it turns into attraction, trust and love. As Alex and Claire start to let down their walls and help each other to face and heal their secrets and scarred past, Claire finds out about Alex's real reason for marrying her and she leaves. Will their love, strength and family values help these two find their HEA? You will have to read to find out. Fantastic Story, that was beautifully written, captivating, full of secrets, lies, heartache, second chances and love. Can't wait to read more by this new author! Loved it! Received an ARC through the publisher and NetGalley and voluntarily wrote this honest review.
I love a book that can make me cry and in this book, I did several times. The author has the ability to present some scenes with and between Claire and Alex that just wring your heart. Overall I don't like people who are users and out for revenge but family love and pain I do. This book is a mix of both and as the story progresses you see the effects of how one affects the other. For me this book was very emotional because of Claire's fears, curse and how it affects her life and ability to love. But also for Alex who is so driven by pain as to seek a horrible revenge. Alex well he is another story. The reader will feel his pain even as he administers him revenge and you will feel a compassion for his reasons even if you do not agree. There is much about him that the reader will not admire but it is balanced for all the ways they will learn to care for him and his ways. Throughout this book, you will read firsthand how misunderstandings occur, how love is everlasting yet can bring great pain, but mostly you will see that there is always a chance for personal growth and forgiveness. I give this 4 STARS for showing how fears and hate can be overcome in a manner that is life changing.
An amazing Debut! Will definitely include the author in my TBR shelf... Loved Alex and Claire!
4.5 Stars! Lady Claire Cavensham’s bad luck started with the death of her parents in a violent carriage accident when she was a child. It followed her throughout her life and made another lethal appearance with the death of her first fiancee only a month before their wedding. Now on the brink of announcing a betrothal for the fourth time, Lady Claire’s curse appears again when the bridegroom ends the engagement. Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembroke, believes Lady Claire’s fourth fiancee, Lord Paul, is the reason for his younger sister’s suicide. He will stop at nothing to ruin Lord Paul, including marrying Lady Claire himself. When Alex comforts Claire the night Paul breaks their engagement, they are found in a compromising position and announce they will be wed. This debut novel from Janna MacGregor is a fantastic ride through a thrilling romance. It has all the best elements needed for success, witty dialogue, heart wrenching backstories, and charismatic characters. Alex is driven by grief, but that grief brings him the greatest gift of all, Claire. Even though I would never approve of the way Alex deceived Claire, it comes from a place of utter devotion. I love Alex’s transformation from grief stricken brother to besotted husband. Claire has her own transformation that is utterly mesmerizing. Her curse is so ingrained in her that it takes an epic event to bring her out of her despair and except the love before her eyes. This novel ranks high with seasoned romance authors and I am ecstatic to read what is to come in this series. MacGregor has a cavalcade of developed secondary characters, but I’m hoping Claire’s cousin, Emma, is the next lady to find love. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Lady Claire Cavensham has found herself engaged to Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke. It’s quite shocking, considering she’s engaged to someone else. Unfortunately, she’s already had 3 bad engagements and her 4th one seems to now be ruined, so she must continue on with it and hope this one will allow her to finally get married. As part of his revenge, Alexander has forced his enemy’s fiance to become his. Unfortunately, this sham of a marriage seems to be changing into something real. This was a pretty good story. I really liked that there was some meat to the characters, making it more than just a light-hearted historical romance. It covered things that aren’t usually in this genre of book I liked all of the interactions between the different characters. I really enjoyed the plot. I look forward to reading more from this author. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor is my first book by this author. What a fantastic surprise. Ms MacGregor has penned a well-written book. Her characters are absolutely amazing. If this is Ms MacGregor's debut, I can't wait to see what she gives us going forward. Alex and Claire's book is loaded with drama, action, a bit of suspense and just the right amount of sizzle. The Bad Luck Bride is a fantastic read from start to finish and I look forward to reading more from Janna MacGregor in the future. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
'The Bad Luck Bride" by Janna MacGregor is book One in "The Cavensham Heiresses" series. This is the story of Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke and Lady Claire Cavensham. Alex sister died pregnant and unmarried. Alex feels that his one time friend Lord Paul is to blame. With that knowledge Alex has taken it to seek revenge against him. With buying up all of Lord Paul's 'vowels' and moving forward to now take his future bride. Lord Paul's future bride is Claire. Claire feels she has been cursed because each time she gets engaged it seems to end with several different issues with the groom. Now she is engaged to Lord Paul who is a friend of sorts. But now that engagement is going down hill quickly and Alex has stepped in. Claire doesn't know all that Alex is up to or what he has done. Alex is having trust issue with Claire...can these two work things out? Will Alex get over his revenge quest? "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, is out for revenge, on none other than his best friend. He has read the letter that his sister had left when she committed suicide, and could not believe his friend caused her to get pregnant and then left her destroyed, so he vows to destroy him. Unfortunately, he goes after the one person that had nothing to do with this Lady Claire, and while he does destroy his friend causing her to get another betrothal cancelled, and she was already dubbed cursed. So he advises her to marry him, so that she wont be tainted anymore. They do end up falling in love, but he never let her know why he was so adamant to marry her, and she is hurt. So she leaves him, and then the truth comes out, on what really happened to his sister, and he is heartbroken, and now he has so many people to make up for.
The Bad Luck Bride was a fairly decent debut novel by Janna MacGregor. You have a jilted man of honor who is furious with a man he thought his friend and you have the target, the individual who he will use to get back at said friend. The premise to begin with left me scratching my head because I felt disconnected from the beginning. Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, is on a mission to destroy the man he once thought was his friend because of a horrendous and cold act, because he's out to destroy him he focuses his attention on the fiancee of said removed friend, Lady Claire Cavensham and seeks to woo her. She has endured many engagements and surely one more failed engagement will ruin her! Ahhh, this book as a whole did not succeed in grabbing my attention or even ensnaring my affections for any of the characters right off the bat. While the book was well written [or enough so,] the characters just didn't appeal to me, I didn't find myself liking any of them immediately. There were some quick developments in the early chapters that also didn't sit well with me, too fast - too soon - and without reason that left me blinking. All of these feelings were carried through the book in various situations. However! I am extremely picky when it comes to Regency Romances, I will be the first one to admit that and it takes just the right formula in just the right way to ensnare my attention as well as my affections. So, I think by and large this is mostly a 'me' thing because the premise is interesting enough, the characters are [in general,] likable enough and it was a lovely enough book, too. I think if you're like me, and you take your Regency Romance seriously, and you demand a certain formula then you'd have the same views as me [maybe!] Generally speaking, it's a nice read!
The story starts off a bit slow but the conflict and plot are well developed, and the reader is pulled into Claire and Alex's complicated relationship. The emotional turmoil and struggles the couple has to face to have their happy ending draws the reader in and you can't help but feel for Claire. Alex definitely digs himself a big hole and he has a lot to atone for in order to win Claire's trust back once all of his secrets are revealed. I very much enjoyed their story. The characters were strong, the plot was compelling, and the development of the relationship with its highs and lows kept me turning the page. I very much enjoyed the book and recommend to any who loves a great historical romance.
everyone whispers about lady claire cavensham's curse, she's the bad luck bride after all. she's had three engagements and no marriages. orphaned at a young age it's almost as if anyone she cares for is destined to meet an unfortunate end. so she's hoping this fourth engagement is the charm, except before she even has a chance to announce it her fiancé cries off. uncertain how to handle the sudden reversal of fortune claire is about to panic when lord alexander pembroke swoops in to save her. he announces their engagement when it appears that she's been compromised. and claire realizes that she has very little options if she doesn't want to be a social pariah. what claire doesn't know is that the responsibility for her sudden jilting can be laid at lord pembroke's feet. and when she has occasion to doubt moving forward with their marriage, alexander makes some social maneuvers to ensure her cooperation. it sounds really sinister and he really is being kind of a presumptuous jerk, but he has his reasons for behaving the way he does. he really does believe that he is doing his best for her. he is concerned for her safety. he cares for her. claire doesn't really want alexander to care for her. she doesn't want to care for him. because as ridiculous as it sounds, what if she really is cursed? alexander doesn't believe in curses. he makes a lot of mistakes and he has to make up for them. but he loves claire. he just has to prove it beyond all reasonable doubt. this is the first in a new series, and i can't wait to see where the series goes next. i believe we'll see the story of claire's young cousin next. and her potential hero may just be her perfect match. **the bad luck bride will publish on may 2, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
After reading The Bad Luck Bride it's hard to believe this is the authors first published book. Janna MacGregor has given us a polished, intricate and entertaining story. Our heroine Lady Claire Cavensham is a wonderful character. She has suffered many past traumas, she still has the ability to look on the bright side of life. Claire is by no means perfect, which makes her all the more likable. However, her strength, loyalty, and giving nature warms the heart and makes the reader love her. Alex, the Marquess of Pembrooke is also a well-developed character. As our hero, he eventually makes the grade. The story begins with all of his actions being driven by revenge. In that respect, Alex was calculating and outright deceptive. He can be forgiven for this lapse as he quickly begins to truly care for Claire. When revenge is no longer Alex's only motivation, he is dashing, caring, and charismatic. The relationship between Claire and Alex was rushed, but still felt natural and was very enjoyable to read. Their chemistry felt real, their pain honest and their love strong. It was refreshing to read a novel in which both the H/h are normal people with real problems and faults. Hopefully, there will be many more books in Janna MacGregor's future for us to enjoy.
With this debut novel, MacGregor shows she has industry "staying power"! Clair and Alex are two dysfunctional people -- each for their own reasons. Claire seeks to break the "curse" of failing to make it to the altar multiple times in a row. Alex seeks revenge against the childhood friend who he holds responsible for his sister's death. Together, they try to help each other lay to rest the demons of their respective pasts. But, their road to personal peace will not be an easy one, and each must learn to trust the other, if they are to succeed. This was a heart-warming tale about healing and new beginnings featuring complex, likable and sometimes charmingly-exasperating characters. The story is smartly-written and has an engaging and fast-moving plot. It is definitely "un-put-downable". *I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley & St. Martin's Press in order to read and provide a voluntary, unbiased and honest review, should I choose to do so.
Dorchester - 1811 Alexander (Alex) Hallworth, Marquess of Pembroke, is preparing for a duel with Lord Paul Barstowe, the second son of the Duke of Southart. The two men had been best friends. Alex’s youngest and unmarried sister, Alice, has killed herself because she was carrying a baby. Paul claims Alice had pursued him and that it must be Paul’s baby. Nicholas St. Mauer, the Earl of Somerton, has arrived to stop the duel. When Paul flees, Alex vows to take everything from the man. London - 1812 Alex has just informed Paul that he has bought his vowels after which Alex demands Paul give him the deed to his home, Willow House, in Dorchester and he must give up his engagement to Lady Claire Cavensham, niece of Sebastian, the Duke of Langham. Paul claims that, like Alice, he has compromised Lady Claire too. If Paul refuses, Alex says he will sell his debts to someone else. But Paul agrees. Now, as his final jab at Paul, he will ask for Claire’s hand. Rather than see her in person, Paul breaks off their engagement via a note to Claire that arrives just as their engagement party is to begin. It is the fourth time this has happened to Claire and it is known among the ton as the Lady Claire Curse. Trying to flee the room and her humiliation, she sees Alex who offers her his assistance. Knowing what has happened, Alex suggests that she announce that she has broken the engagement. But before she can do that, Claire and Alex are discovered in the garden in a compromising position at which time Alex announces their engagement. Claire has some emotional scars left from a devastating carriage accident that killed her parents. Alex also has some secrets he is hiding. Will those two virtual strangers be able to make a good marriage? This is a good book, however, some of the plot is a bit convoluted which makes it a bit difficult to follow at times. I did not care for Claire as I felt she was too weak. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
What a wonderful first book! I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a light story as it has complex characters who have some personal demons to overcome. The hero, Alex, Marquess of Pembroke is suffering from his younger sister’s suicide. He blames his former friend Lord Paul and is planning to ruin him. Lord Paul is to announce his engagement to Lady Claire Cavensham, the wealthy only child of the late Duke and Duchess of Langham, and Alex is going to prevent that announcement and marry her himself. Lady Claire has been engaged several times but something always goes wrong. She doesn’t love Paul but wants a family of her own and believes they could learn to love. When he doesn’t show at the ball she’s attending she hides in the garden to be found by Alex. When they are discovered together Alex announces his plan to marry her. I do not want to spoil this book by revealing too much of a complicated plot. Claire agrees to marry Alex as he will not interfere with her charity work and she is attracted to him. However, when she discovers the extent of his manipulations she leaves him. There is a HEA but you must read this book to learn about their healing and reconciliation. It’s a keeper. The secondary characters are interesting and I hope her cousins, his sister and his best friend get stories of their own. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me this ARC.
The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor The Cavensham Heiress #1 This romance is based on the idea of one man seeking revenge against the man he perceives to be the culprit in his sister’s suicide. The steps Alex Hallworth, Marquess of Pembroke, takes to bring his onetime friend, Paul, to his knees have repercussions that reverberate into not only the two men’s lives but the lives of others surrounding them. In an attempt to help Paul’s fiancé Claire Cavensham while at the same time working his revenge…well…Alex sets Claire up in such a way that she must marry Alex…though neither are in love. So begins a long drawn out plot with spying and miscommunication and avoidance of weighty or intimate topics or any real soul searching that might have led to a HEA much earlier BUT as is true of such stories there must be angst and drama and secrets shared and loss and separation and pain before all can be set to rights. What I liked: * The costumes * The atmosphere * The caring shown by Claire’s family * Some of the twists and turns What I didn’t like: * Revenge concept – especially since Alex did not fully research before he implemented the revenge * The lack of chemistry between Alex and Claire * Lack of character development for Alex (little background if any) and the other men in the story. * Spice – I didn’t particularly find Alex or Claire to be interesting people with quirks or spirit or humor or…anything like that. So…I didn’t stop reading the book. And, as it is a debut novel, I can say that I believe this author has talent and will grow as she finds her way. She has the skill to develop characters I would want to call friends. I hope to see her growth in storytelling when I read book two in the series. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3 Stars