cover image The Bride Insists

The Bride Insists

Jane Ashford. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8569-1

Ashford follows Once Again a Bride with another perfectly delightful Regency romance that plays with gender expectations. Clare Greenough’s inheritance will be managed by her nasty cousin, Simon, until it transfers to her future husband. She arranges to marry James Boleigh, Baron Trehearth, offering to fund restoration of his failing lands in exchange for a promise that she will retain control of the money. After Clare restores Jamie’s household, civilizes his wild younger sisters, and shows clear enjoyment of his sexual attentions, he assumes she will fall into a traditional wife’s role, but she insists on maintaining their original agreement. Remarkably executed secondary characters like the sisters, their enormous dog, and Clare’s hired lady’s companion bring life to the busy household that Clare guides with skilled and self-assured calm. The newness of passion doesn’t eliminate her strong will, intelligence, or resolve, allowing the reader to be swept away in the surprises of romance while still cheering for Clare to take charge of her love and her life. (Mar.)