Review: The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley

bittersweetTitle: The Bittersweet Bride
Series: Advertisements for Love, #1
Author: Vanessa Riley
Published: January 29, 2018
Pages: 259
Published: Entangled Amara
Genre: Historical
Source: Netgalley
Rating: C
Purchase: Amazon

summary from Goodreads:
Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.

Ewan Fitzwilliam has been at war for six years. Now, the second son of a powerful earl is back but his beloved Theo needs a husband and will not consider him. She believes Ewan left her—in desperate straits—so she denies the feelings she still harbors for the handsome, scarred soldier. Theo and playwright Ewan must overcome bitter lies and vengeful actions that ruined their youthful affair. Theo must reveal her deepest secret in order to reclaim the love that has long been denied.

I am always down for reading a historical romance that 1) Features diverse characters and 2)Add a history lesson or little known historical fact. For me it’s a testament that the author does their research and isn’t trying to reinvent history to suit their purpose. I have read too many historical romances where PoC do not exist. In the romance community apparently black people do not exist in the past, present or  future. Oh and we don’t play sports either cause the majority of sports romances don’t have a lick of color in them. -__-

There was some controversy about the cover. The stock image that was used for Theo was a white woman when it clearly states in the book that Theo is black and Chinese. I’m glad that the publisher (or whoever) realized their error and had the heroine on the book cover reflect the heroine that’s actually described in the book.

The Bittersweet Bride was just an okay book for me. This is the first book I’ve read by the author so I didn’t know what to expect. This could be classified as a “sweet” romance as there are no sex scenes. Not even fade-to-black sex scenes which is fine. I liked Theo a lot as the main character. She had a rough life and did what she had to do to make sure that her future was better than her past. She genuinely cared for her friends and the people that worked for her. Now Ewan, on the other hand, can go kick rocks. I did not like his character from start to finish and it made me wonder how and why Theo fell in love with him?

Ewan was unnecessarily cruel and vindictive. His feelings were hurt that Theo moved on with her life when it was told to her that Ewan had died six years ago. What exactly did Ewan expect her to do? He was crass and obnoxious. I wanted him to go away. His family is just as terrible, except maybe  Jasper.

My inability to connect with Ewan and Theo as a couple prevented me from fully enjoying the story. I think it would have helped if we were privy to Ewan and Theo’s relationship before he went off to war, maybe in a couple of flashback scenes. I didn’t see it for their epic romance. Some parts of the story dragged and I felt that scenes between Ewan and Theo were getting repetitive by them rehashing the same old stuff. At some point Ewan just needed to let it go and by the end of the story as a reader,  I don’t believe he fully did.

I will read  future works by this author. Hopefully not all of her male characters are unforgiving cads or money-hungry leeches.

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