Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a relaxing and fun holiday break! I’m busy gearing up for the Spring Semester here, which is always way more work than you think it’s going to be. In a few weeks we’ll be celebrating my one year blogoversary, which is exciting, since I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for almost a year now. Blogging has been a fun way to meet other romance readers and authors, and I’m looking forward to 2012.
I lucked out and won Connie Brockway’s Goodreads First Reads contest for a print copy of The Other Guy’s Bride, which I read over the holidays. I really enjoyed it, and I think it’s a delightful historical romance with an exotic location. Here’s my review:
Title: The Other Guy’s Bride (Braxton #2)
Author: Connie Brockway
Publisher: Montlake Romance (Amazon)
Format: Trade Paperback & ebook
Source: Goodreads’ First Reads Program
Publication Date: November 22, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I’d never read any of Ms. Brockway’s books before I won this copy of The Other Guy’s Bride through the Goodreads First Reads program. I’m guessing that means my romance reader membership card will be revoked or at the very least suspended, because she is quite the powerhouse! So I was really excited to read this book, first, because I’d heard so many good things about Ms. Brockway’s writing, and, second, because this is the first book released by Amazon’s new romance imprint, Montlake Romance. The ebook version of this book was released on November 22, but the print version is now available through Amazon as well. I’m curious to see how well the book will sell, since the print version won’t be available in warehouse stores, and I have no idea if it’ll be on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, either. If sales are not stellar, it certainly won’t reflect the quality of the book, because The Other Guy’s Bride is an engaging romp. In fact, my only criticism of the book has more to do with decisions made by the publisher than the actual book itself.
Our heroine, Ginesse Braxton, is determined to make a name for herself among her Egyptologist relatives and is making her way to Egypt to look for the lost city of Zerzura. She assumes the identity of mild-mannered Mildred Whimpelhall, whose fiancé is stationed out in the middle of nowhere, conveniently located close to where Ginesse believes Zerzura to be located. The hero, Jim Owens, is escorting Miss Whimpelhall to her fiancé, never realizing that the fiery, accident-prone Miss Whimpelhall is in fact the infamous Ginesse Braxton. Of course, Jim Owens is not exactly the rough and tough American cowboy he’s pretending to be either. As the two make their way to “Mildred’s” fiancé and the inevitable discovery, sparks fly between them.
This is a delightful romance, and I love the Egyptian setting! Ginesse reminds me of Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody in her love of all things Egyptian and stalwart refusal to accept being treated as less than capable merely because she’s a woman. And like Amelia Peabody, Ginesse attracts all sorts of disaster, seemingly without trying. Despite her penchant for catastrophe, Ginesse never approaches Too Stupid To Live territory; all of her escapades are undertaken after careful thought. Unfortunately, something always manages to go wrong, and you will wonder how she ever made it to the ripe old age of 21, since we learn that she’s found herself in similar circumstances on a regular basis since the age of 6.
Jim Owens is also a really appealing hero, trying with no success to fight his attraction to this irrepressible heroine. His past makes for intriguing possibilities for the future of the couple, and it’s easy to see that he’s the ideal hero for Ginesse, as he manages to save her life and avoid strangling her with his bare hands.
All of this adds up to a charming romance that’s a pleasure to read. My one complaint about the text has to do with the conclusion. Ginesse is supposedly so motivated to make her mark on Egyptology that she’s willing to pose as another woman, yet at the end she seems willing, if not eager, to accept a different role. I would have liked more explanation for this seemingly abrupt change.
However, this is a minor criticism, as I very much enjoyed the book and will certainly reread it. My biggest complaints have to do with the cover art and size of the printed book, both of which are decisions made by the publisher. I’m really not enamored of the cover, to put it mildly. The colors aren’t particularly striking and the female on the cover looks a little young. I do think the image appears better in the print version than the ebook, but either way I’m not a fan of the cover. Also, the print book is about the size of a trade paperback. I really think that the mass market paperback size would have been easier for the reader to handle and perhaps easier to distribute. The print version felt a little bit too “print on demand” for my taste, leaving me to wonder how many printed copies of the book will sell.
That said, I like that the book is available in print and electronic versions. I’m certainly going to be checking out Ms. Brockway’s backlist, as this book was enchanting.