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The Thompsons of Locust Street #1

The Bachelor’s Bride

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Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1868 Elspeth Thompson is the middle daughter in a family with tightly held secrets. While she loves her family, she longs to break out from their overprotective hold, to find herself, to be noticed for who she is rather than as chaperone to her beautiful younger sister, Kirsty, or underling to her elder sister, Muireall. A chance meeting under scandalous circumstances offers her the opportunity to be seen for herself, but the repercussions could lead to the downfall of her family.

Confirmed bachelor Alexander Pendergast enjoys his position as the right-hand man of one of the most influential and powerful politicians in Philadelphia. Heir to the largest textile mill on the east coast, Alexander is handsome, charming, and the ultimate catch on high society’s matrimonial market. But he has no interest in settling down with a pampered debutante. He doubts the perfect woman for him actually exists…until he meets Elspeth Thompson.

But the Thompsons and Pendergasts move in different circles, and Elspeth has no desire to be judged and found wanting by Philadelphia’s first families. Though she tries to resist Alexander’s charms, when he comes to her family’s rescue, she knows there’s more to him than she’d first thought. But Alexander realizes that his ambitions may have placed Elspeth and her family in grave danger. With an unseen enemy determined to uncover the Thompson family’s secrets, Alexander grapples with secrets of his own, secrets that could cost him the only woman he’s ever truly cared about.

When Elspeth finds herself in terrible danger, can she muster the inner strength of her ancestors to save herself and her family and find the courage to meet love head on?

244 pages, Kindle Edition

Published November 17, 2020

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About the author

Holly Bush

21 books709 followers
“Love always has something to say. Sometimes it shouts from the highest hill, and sometimes it whispers so softly one must listen closely to hear. Do not turn away. It is a rare and precious commodity. Treasure it.” The Gentrys of Paradise

Holly Bush's historical romances are set in the US during the turbulent and transformative years of the late 1800’s.

The Thompsons of Locust Street, Philadelphia, chronicles five siblings from Scotland with some danger and mystery surrounding their move to America. The series order is The Bachelor's Bride, The Bareknuckle Groom, The Professor's Lady, and The Captain's Woman. The final book in the series will release in 2024.

The Gentrys of Paradise begins with the novella Into the Evermore where readers meet Virginia horse breeders, Eleanor and Beauregard Gentry. The following books feature their children, Adam, Matthew, and Olivia in For the Brave, For This Moment, and For Her Honor.

The Crawford Family Series following the fortunes of the three Boston born Crawford sisters and includes Train Station Bride, Contract to Wed, Her Safe Harbor, and companion novella, The Maid’s Quarters.

Cross the Ocean and Charming the Duke are both British set Victorian romances. Fan favorites stand-alone historical romance novels include Romancing Olive and Reconstructing Jackson. Holly's books are described as ‘emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance.’

She also writes General Fiction under the name of Hollis Bush.

Holly makes her home with her husband, one happy Labrador Retriever, a clever Jack Russell rescued from the pound, and two difficult cats in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com, on Twitter @hollybushbooks, and on Facebook at Holly Bush. Follow Holly on her Amazon author page to receive new release updates and on BookBub to check out her reviews and get sale information.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,164 reviews885 followers
December 7, 2020
Elspeth Thompson is the middle daughter in a rather unconventional family, headed by her older sister. Their parents died at sea as they were immigrating from Scotland when she was just nine years old. They landed in Philadelphia and have a business that’s doing quite well now in 1868. On one of her shopping trips, she had an unpleasant encounter with a powerful city councilman and his assistant Alexander Pendergast. Alexander, however, was immediately drawn to Elspeth like no other as she wasn’t the typical woman of society who bored him to distraction. After he decides to pursue her despite her objections, they unwittingly find themselves as targets in a dangerous plot against the Thompson family, exposing secrets that could imperil both families.

I love historical fiction set in 19th century America and this one has the added attraction of Philadelphia at its center. With it as a backdrop, Elspeth represents the affluent working class and Alexander the high society families. While their unusual first encounter brought them together, it was their independent natures that kept them intrigued with each other. I liked how both seemed more conventional on the surface but were much more passionate in their convictions.

But it was the mystery of the Thompson family, controlled by elder sister Muireal, that provided a high level of intrigue and suspense. The danger was real and escalated quickly, involving political leaders, law enforcement and other nefarious players. I got to a point where I didn’t want to put the book down. I really liked Elspeth and Alexander, both individually and as a couple. Their family members were also well developed, being more than supportive characters. I loved the story and was glad my copy included an excerpt of the next in the series as I’m not done with these families.

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to the author for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
2,785 reviews41 followers
October 18, 2022
A melodramatic play where 'dastardly' villains fondled their 'weapons' in front of the heroine as she waits to be ruined or rescued. The h had a large family with a brutal history. The overwrought plot involves secrets, clever bad guys, multiple bashings and oddly, the drunk bad guys outwit the sober good guys. The h was a ninny who found some pluck (!) just before H rescued her. He'd fallen for her at first sight, he's a good guy if a little short. Just OK.
Profile Image for Rajiv.
957 reviews62 followers
November 20, 2020


“The Bachelor’s Bride” is a sweet story of romance and intrigue, and I liked it.

I liked all the lead characters in the story. Elspeth is a headstrong character who stands up for what she feels is right. However, my very favorite person was Alexander. The author wrote him in a dynamic and complex manner that made me connect with him. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where he has to do Schmitt’s dirty work to target Elspeth. He is conflicted about his job vs. following his heart and made the scenes memorable.

Similarly, the author wrote even Schmitt in a crass, devious manner where you love to hate him. All the supporting cast like Aunt Murdoch, Muireall, Kirsty, Payden, and James add nicely to the plot. I found James fascinating, too, and would love to read tale revolving around him and his life of boxing on a side note.

Moreover, the author takes the story in an exciting direction that makes it intriguing. I loved the scenes revolving around Lily Barnsworth’s murder, and when some strangers attack and scare Elspeth. Elspeth and Alexander face thrills and chills as they learn of their family secrets and people target them to bring them down. Speaking of which, Elspeth and Alexander share great chemistry. I loved how the Pendergast’s and the Thompsons come together in the tale and interact with each other, even though they are from different circles.

Overall, “The Bachelor’s Bride” is a lovely start to the series, and I am curious to see how it continues.
Profile Image for Deanna Lynn Sletten.
Author 28 books500 followers
December 2, 2020
Elspeth Thompson is young and headstrong and longs to be independent of her over-protective family. She is slowly learning that secrets run deep in her family, and dislikes being treated like a child. On a chance encounter, she meets the handsome Alexander Pendergast, and although she has the wrong impression of him at first, she can’t help but be intrigued by him. Unfortunately, her older sister and brother are bound and determined to hold the family secrets tight and aren’t happy with Elspeth’s growing relationship with Alex.

The Bachelor’s Bride is the first book in the Thompsons of Locust Street series. Once again, author Holly Bush has created an interesting cast of characters who you are eager to read more about. Set in 1868, she does a wonderful job of pulling the reader back in time with little references to speech, clothing, lifestyles, etc. An excellent story with a little mystery and of course, romance. Perfect for readers who enjoy historical novels.
Profile Image for Sharlene.
872 reviews19 followers
May 10, 2021
There was a mystery in this that became clearer as the book went on. I have a feeling the suspense will continue in further books. Elspeth and Alexander were both very likeable characters, as were their families and Alexander's loyal friends. This was a slow burn romance, appropriate for the times. I'm looking forward to the future books in this series!
Profile Image for Shoshanna Ford.
341 reviews13 followers
February 7, 2021
An excellent book by Holly Bush!
I very much enjoyed the Thompson family. Each of the siblings are good characters in their own way, and I cannot wait to read all of their stories.

The writing style is excellent. It is very much in line with the style of Ms. Bush's other books. When you're reading a book by Holly Bush, you know it. I love that about her. All of the characters in this story are vibrant and three dimensional. Even though you never really "meet" the villain, you understand him and his motives perfectly. I fully appreciated that.

The book wraps up well. The Elsbeth and Alexander part of the saga is over,  but there is obviously room for the rest of the series. There are still questions yet unanswered. This book *could* be read as a stand alone, but I, personally, would not be able to not read the rest of the series. I need completion.

This story kept me on the edge of my seat. I finished the whole thing in a few hours. I can't wait for the next book! It will be James' story. James is one of my favorite of the siblings, just on first introduction. I am eagerly awaiting his story.
Profile Image for Joann Maggio.
325 reviews6 followers
March 27, 2021
The Bachelor’s Bride ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
By Holly Bush

I have read everyone of Ms Bush’s books. She never disappoints. Her characters are real life and absorb you into the pages of the story.

Her particular era is after the Civil War. It is packed full of much of our country history. This is a beautiful story about the Thompson family with all its quirkiness and devotion.

Elspeth Thompson the middle sibling wants to stand on her own. She finds the family so overprotective and not knowing the underlying reason makes her rebel more. But danger does lurk for all of them. A chance meeting with Alexander Pendergast sets all their worries in motion.

Alexander realizes what danger he has brought to this family and has a deep fondness for Elspeth. When she is in terrible danger her strength keeps her until she is saved. Although both are from two different backgrounds Society vs working class they come together.

This book is a little different from what Ms Bush usually write very gripping and spot on. I would unequivocally recommend this story.

Profile Image for Kelly (AndKellyReads).
739 reviews50 followers
November 28, 2020
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I liked the storyline, and the characters were enjoyable, but there's something about it that kept me from loving it. Maybe it was the writing style? It was a bit stilted and kind of abrupt when transitioning, so that could be it. There were also moments where chunks of info were thrown at you at once and it was overwhelming, and then some of those things were never mentioned again (think family history and names). It sometimes became too much to track and I found myself skimming some of those bits.

Overall though, I liked Elspeth and thought she was a solid heroine, and I really enjoyed her moments with Alexander, even if I do wish there had been a bit more romance (it all happened very quickly and it went from friendly to BAM I LOVE YOU real fast) but it was sweet. It was a cute story and an intriguing storyline with some drama and suspense thrown in, and I may be tempted to check out the next in the series if I remember to follow up. I do love that it's about the elder brother because he was a delight.

Many thanks to the author for the review copy!!
306 reviews
December 16, 2021
Enjoyable Story

This is a story about a family. It is a love story about the middle daughter and a young man. There are secrets and an exciting kidnapping.
Profile Image for Bea Tea.
199 reviews
November 23, 2022
I struggled to care much about these characters because I didn't care a jot about their all consuming drive to keep the aristocratic line going. I just couldn't connect with people who are weirdly obsessed with the family name, so much so they are not only willing to die but also sacrifice each other so the precious bloodline can continue. I'll happily read romances about werewolves, aliens, cyborgs, bazzionaires - whatever - as long as those stories have a basic element I as a normal reader can connect to. A bunch of blue bloods freaking out over their bloodline and treasures reeeeally doesn't speak to me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Judi Easley.
1,362 reviews46 followers
October 29, 2022
An interesting concept

The author chooses an interesting concept of a family under a false identity and keeping the heir safe from a violent bastard son who has pretentions to the title and will stop at nothing to have it. The romance does not directly involve the heir, it is his sister who is in love and it is also she who ends up in danger and almost dead. Recommended.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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