The Reunion by Sara Portman (Brides of Beadwell #1)
Released: September 26, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
I really enjoyed debut author Sara Portman’s book, The Reunion. Smart, mature characters (well, one immature side character I grew to like), a sexy hero, and a heroine who I adored.
Four years prior to the book starting, seventeen year old Lady Emma, was forced into an engagement to a man whom she barely knew. This man, our hero John, took one look at the very young Emma, sneered, and made some not so nice remarks. To everyone’s confusion, shortly after this, John disappears. Time passes and everyone assumes he is dead. Emma has no idea if she is still engaged, but very happy to not have him in her life anymore. But then to the shock of everyone, John comes back.
With his father dead, John comes back from Boston, to inherit the title of duke. John has good reason to have disappeared four years ago. His hateful father had driven John’s mother and sister, Charlotte, from their house, and the fled across the ocean. When John learns that his sister and mother were alive, he fled to find them. Now back in England, John is preparing to bring his sister back into society (his mother died of illness) and John really needs a wife/duchess to help transition Charlotte to London. Of course, he had totally forgot that he was engaged prior to leaving. But the ton never forgets, and when he makes his first appearance in London, they all remind him who his fiance is.
John can’t believe this beautiful woman is his fiance….and Emma wants nothing to do with him. But John is entranced – it’s not just her beauty but she has a sharp tongue. She is smart and mature and can hold her own. Not only enticing to him, but exactly what Charlotte needs when she comes to live with them. It takes much convincing to woo Emma back to him….
“I do not believe you have any desire or intent to marry me any more than I do you. What I do believe is that you expected a desperate girl who would be disconsolate at your rejection. I believe you feel robbed of your authority as the one who grants and takes away.” She gripped the wooden arms of her chair and peered at him. “Is your ego really so bruised you would punish me by threatening to push forward with this ridiculous engagement? You would bat me around like a cat’s toy just to remind me of your superiority?”
Did I mention Emma has a sharp tongue? But Emma does fall for John. I consider this book a marriage of convenience, but it’s also a slow burn of courtship until they marry about halfway through the book. Even though John behaved poorly four years prior, he really is a gentleman. A sexy one at that. And as Emma realizes this, and gets to know him better, she agrees to the marriage.
As the pleasantries were exchanged, Emma found herself watching John. When finally he stood in front of her and addressed her directly, heat suffused her cheeks. Was he taller and broader than he had been two days before? Surely his hair was sinfully darker and his eyes were more startlingly blue. How strange that this man, this unfamiliar, intimidating lord would be her husband.
The second half of the book focuses on Charlotte’s arrival. She is….quite the character. She comes off spoiled and bratty and I kind of didn’t want to read about her for the remainder of the book. I won’t spoil and give away things, but I ended up liking her a lot. She has a substantial supporting story that is well done – just give her a chance.
I’m impressed with this author’s voice. I love finding a new author to anticipate – and with book two and three coming out in the next two months, I have high hopes. Emma’s best friend will be the heroine in book two – can’t wait.