The Bad Luck Bride is the debut book of author Janna MacGregor, but you certainly wouldn’t know it by reading it. As a fan of historicals (and beautiful covers), I was super excited to dive into this one. What surprised me most was the combination of emotional depth and gorgeous prose coming from Ms. MacGregor. This is not a light, fluffy story about some bride who keeps having trivial “bad luck”.
Alexander has vowed revenge on his supposed friend who ruined the life of his sister, and part of that revenge includes taking his fiancee. Since he has the financial means to do so, and she happens to be somewhat desperate, this task isn’t a particularly hard feat to manage. But actually connecting with his new bride and building a life with her? That’s another matter entirely. Especially since the marriage was built on deception.
Claire believes she is cursed. Her previous fiances have all died or broken engagements. When Lord Hallworth saves her from yet another broken engagement embarrassment, she begins to hope that her luck has changed. But old demons don’t die, and marriage alone cannot save her.
From the very first page, I was struck at the vocabulary and gorgeous figurative language that the author uses. Disclaimer: yes, I am a high school AP English teacher. It reminded me of reading something closer to Jane Austen than many modern historical romances. Don’t get me wrong: it isn’t too difficult or flowery for the modern reader, but I appreciated that Ms. MacGregor respected the readers’ intelligence enough to put more thought into word choice and imagery. Okay, I’ll quit my English “critique” and move on to what most of you really care about: the characters and the story.
I felt for both of these characters: they both had such tough things to work through. I like that the author dealt with these issues realistically and didn’t just “heal” them with sex. Just like real life, real things take time and hard work to process.
The story was fast-paced in the beginning and slowed a bit in the middle, but by the end, I was racing again to see what would happen. I have to say: I was surprised by the outcome. Rather than relying on an obvious trope, the author changes course in the final chapters. There are some questions left unanswered which will lead into book 2 (which I cannot wait for), but I found the ending satisfying and more realistic than I expected.
I guess that is one of the more interesting things Ms. MacGregor brings to this book: people act more like real, flawed people than is normal in these types of books. Situations are more realistic. This is no fairy-tale, and I am not disappointed by that. After all, dashing Willoughby leaves Marianne, and Anna and Wentworth screwed up their lives for years, waiting to be together. Sometimes happy endings are hard to come by because we make it hard on ourselves.
The Bottom Line-
Janna MacGregor is poised to be included in the top echelon of historical romance authors. This is an outstanding debut novel, and fans of historical romance should definitely check this out. I cannot wait to see what else she has in store. 4 1/2 stars
Buy it Now: Amazon