The Bride Behind the Curtain by Darcie Wilde
InterMix: March 15, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher
The Bride Behind the Curtain is the first in what appears to be a three-part series. After reading the first part, I believe that each part is novella length and features a different romantic couple. Considering the open ending to Bride Behind the Curtain, I think it’s safe to assume that all three novellas are going to be strongly tied to one another.
Bride Behind the Curtain started out really strong. Awkward wallflower meets devilishly handsome Frenchman and an unexpected romance ensues. Adele Edmundson is that wallflower and James Beauclaire the French expatriate. After a happenstance meeting, the pair can’t stop thinking about each other. For Adele’s part, she doesn’t believe that such a dashing and handsome man could be attracted to her. And for James’ part, he should be on the lookout for a malleable heiress to support his impoverished family. Of course, neither gets what they bargained for. I really liked the beginning of Bride Behind the Curtain. Adele and James were great characters and the romantic tension that the author created between the two of them was perfection. The setup was great, and I also liked the fact that Adele started to develop her own confidence separate from James. They were worried about a scandal if they were “together” in public too soon and that reasoning worked in Adele’s favour, allowing her time to develop her own confidence. I appreciate the fact that the romance doesn’t solve either Adele or James’ problems.
At about the halfway mark, I felt that the novella lost it’s steam. Adele and James are quick to declare their love for each other, which is always a little suspect in the novella format. However, what I found most troublesome was the fact that in the later half the two didn’t really spend that much time together. The fell in love quickly. Fine. But there was nothing to substantiate those feelings. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder?
I also wasn’t expecting Bride Behind the Curtain to end so inconclusively. When I learned of the author’s three novellas, I simply assumed that they were three interconnected novellas: short, but complete. However, the Regency Makeover trilogy reads more like a serial novel in three parts than three separate novellas. I am not a fan of the serial format, so I wasn’t thrilled about the way Bride Behind the Curtain ended.
Would I read the next two installments? That’s a tricky question. I really liked the characters that the author created and I’m curious to learn more about the other ladies the author is going to focus on. However, the format overall is a real turn off for me. Perhaps if I could read the entire collection at once…
At any rate, I enjoyed the writing style of the author and that alone make me interested in other titles by Darcie Wilde. Since I also have an advance copy of Wilde’s historical mystery, A Useful Woman, I am suddenly wanting to shuffle my to-read list to move that one closer to the top.
As far as I’m concerned Courtney Milan is the queen of the novella format. She has also penned a novella about a plump, shy heroine. So if you liked the setup of Bride Behind the Curtain, I think you’ll really enjoy Milan’s Unlocked. Just read it!
For another unexpected romance between two people who probably shouldn’t have worked together, try Suzanne Enoch’s Always a Scoundrel. I’m not really sure what works so well about this one, but I absolutely love this book. Yes, the heroes about face to respectability is quick, but, dammit, I just don’t care!