cover image The Winter Bride

The Winter Bride

Anne Gracie. Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-0-425-25926-9

Gracie continues the charming seasonal saga of the four Chance sisters (introduced in The Autumn Bride), family by choice rather than blood, with this thoughtful and tender Regency. Miss Damaris Chance (formerly Tait), a missionary’s daughter, has a well-earned “abhorrence of marriage.” The Honorable Frederick Monkton-Coombes wants to present a fiancée to his cold and distant parents to avoid their matchmaking schemes. Freddy and Damaris enter into a business arrangement: she will engage in a faux betrothal in exchange for ownership of a cottage that will allow her to be self-sufficient. Freddy’s cultivation of his rakish reputation has developed his wooing skills, which are put to the test when his friendship with Damaris evolves slowly into romance, despite both parties’ hurts and vulnerabilities. Gracie gradually expands the setting without overwhelming the reader by sending Damaris and Freddy to his family estate, separating them from Damaris’s benefactor and Freddy’s business partners, while setting the scene for the next two seasons. (Apr.)