Could the wrong bride…
Be right for him after all!
For the sake of his family name, Lord Robert must marry to seal an alliance with an Irish clan. Only, the woman at the altar isn’t who he was promised! Instead, it’s her sister, Lady Mairenn!
The sharp-tongued Irish beauty is as reluctant to wed as Robert, but as friction turns to fire between them, she’s further derailing Robert’s plans for this purely pragmatic arrangement…
|The Knight’s Substitute Bride
|Brothers and Rivals (Book 2)
|Category / Genre(s):
|Harlequin / Mills & Boon
|Point of View:
|Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H&h)
|River Suir area, Ireland
|23rd November, 2023
Delightfully engaging medieval romance
I didn’t know until I’d finished this book that it’s actually the second book of a duo about two twin brothers, recently reunited after a separation at birth. The first book is Her Warrior’s Surprise Return by Ella Matthews. But having never read that book, and reading this without realising it was the second in a series – I can confidently say that this stands completely alone and you don’t need to have read the first book to understand and enjoy this one.
As our hero, Lord Robert and our heroine, Mairenn, meet for the first time – while not knowing that they’re meeting for the first time – the banter just sets the scene for their encounters throughout the book. But it’s the chemistry that springs from the banter that really sucked me in. I loved our pairing from the very first as I am very partial to a couple that excel at that bickering repartee that thinly disguises something more.
Mairenn is the younger daughter of a clan chief and well-known as a feisty, unruly, odd kind of woman. I definitely saw her wild side and her sass was on point – but, by modern standards at least, she seemed perfectly normal. Regardless, I really loved her and rooted for her from start to finish. The way she wasn’t cowed by Robert and stood toe to toe with him – while still having her vulnerabilities and times of doubt – made her a real, likeable character.
While Robert is (for simplicity) an Englishman in Ireland and known as a fierce warrior knight with a heart of stone and nerves of steel – from his first encounter with Mairenn, he shows himself to be something more. He is entertained by her, frustrated by her, irritated by her, but most importantly smitten by her. In fact, he was the perfect husband. I hate to say it but I loved his descent into panic as he came to realise his true feelings for her. I do also love to see my heroes brought to their knees by a good woman.
While there is some peril and subterfuge running aside Mairenn and Robert’s story – the focus is definitely on our couple. The added stories of a traitor and the return of an old face just add to what is a really engaging and interesting story. I was kept interested from beginning to end and the pages just kept turning. Ms Oliver’s skill in storytelling and creating characters I want to read about, is equalled by the way she weaves details of the time period (1177) into the story in such a subtle way. You find the world being built in your mind without even realising it’s being done.
I’ve read a lot of Melissa Oliver’s stories and while I’ve enjoyed them all, this is definitely my favourite. Mairenn and Robert have such chemistry and are so perfect for each other despite being so different. This is a story about two people, so different from each other, who complete the other. It’s also a story about how you can find the perfect person who accepts and loves every single part of you – the good and the bad. A hugely engaging story with a love that is worth fighting for. Definitely 5 stars.
* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *
Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her lovely husband and daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, grand palaces and all things historical.
Melissa is the WINNER of The Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.
When she’s not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.