Kit★'s Reviews > A Perfect Bride

A Perfect Bride by Samantha James
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May 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, regency-era, romance, series-trilogy, paperback
Read on May 11, 2011 — I own a copy

I was craving a good historical romance, and this definitely worked for me. I was intrigued by the premise, poor girl taken from St. Giles, the worst slum in London, by a rich, handsome lord, how will they make it work, because, y'know, lords aren't supposed to marry poor slum girls. But since this is a romance, I knew it would end well, and the journey was great.
Devon St. James is the heroine, in the beginning, she's working in a tavern, dealing with all these grubby guys groping on her, trying to make her living. Her mother recently died, and now her landlord just raised the rent on her crummy little basement room to an impossible amount. It's closing time, and she's going home, all alone in the wee hours, through this awful part of town. All she has left of her mother is a cross necklace, which she keeps in her pocket, with her at all times. Soon she's set upon by two notorious thugs, and they steal her money and her necklace, but she tries to fight them off, killing one in the process, but not without getting hurt herself. She proceeds to pass out in the street. Along comes the hero, Sebastian Sterling, marquess of Thurston, in St. Giles in search of his wayward younger brother Justin, who's out gambling and drinking, and most likely whoring. The carriage stops due to the obstruction in the road, and he decides to help her, seeing that she's very pregnant, and bleeding from a wound in her side. He scoops her up and takes her home, installing her in a guest bedroom, cleaning her up, and finding out quickly that the pregnancy is just a disguise. He bandages her wound (but not without ogling her glorious boobies of course), and dresses her in one of his sister's fine nightgowns. Justin is already home, having beaten his brother back from whatever he was doing in St. Giles, so he helps fix her up, and even ogles her boobies too. She wakes up, and understandably freaks out a little, mostly concerned for her missing necklace, which Sebastian has hidden away, thinking the worst of her, assuming she stole it. He tells her the rightful owner can have it back once things are straightened out, and that kind of ticks her off, but she's too weak yet to make a rebellion. She knows he won't believe her, due to their class differences. Oh, yea, and there's the threat of the gangster out there looking for her, because she killed his brother. So Sebastian decides to keep her with him and Justin for awhile. A couple of days pass, and Devon heals, and begins exploring the house, finding the library, Sebastian's favorite room. That leads to a discussion, wherein Seb decides he's going to teach her to read, and help her gain the skills to become a governess like her mother before her (it was only through Dev's own stubbornness that she wouldn't let her mother teach her, much to her shame). He's also gone to St. Giles to check her story, and is horrified by her working and living conditions. He swears to never let her return to that life. Days pass, and a friendship (and lust for each other) blooms between them. Seb is pleased to learn she's smart, and finds her beauty irresistible, and she's the focus of many fantasies for him. Sebastian's always the perfect gentleman though, always following the rules and being polite, not letting any hint of scandal touch his family since their scandalous mother ran away from their mean and overbearing father years ago. When Justin spills their family history to Devon, Seb leaves the house in an angry rush, but Devon begs him to take her too, and they leave for Thurston Hall, the Sterling country estate, and the place where Seb is most comfortable. They spend the next day wandering the estate together, through the gardens, and meadows, flirting and teasing each other, sharing a kiss, falling in love if you will. Then Justin shows up and the men decide they can't let Devon be a governess, at the whim of the men of the houses she'd be employed at, knowing she'd probably end up back on the streets. So they decide to marry her off. Well she finds out about their plan, and is pretty upset, feeling like Seb just broke her heart. He rushes after, and consoles her in the only way he knows how, by making sweet, sweet love. Well, of course that only makes her fall even more in love with him, and the next few days they spend together are positively magical for them. Then, Justin shows up again, and tells her that his brother will never marry her, because of his proper-ness and duty to the title and all that, breaking her heart all over again when Sebastian doesn't exactly argue against his brother's claims. He "consoles" her again, telling her he can't let her go, but not telling her he'll marry her. Thankfully, Devon's surprise long-lost grandma from her unknown father's side shows up and whisks her away back to London. Seb can't stand the thought of living without her, and realizes what an ass he's been, and has to fight to make amends, with her grandma's help in the end, leading to a very touching reunion and HEA. I had watery eyes, I'll admit. This was my first try at Samantha James' writing, and I was pretty impressed, so she's definitely another author on my list of one's to look for. I'd love to read the next two in the series, Justin's story, and their sister Julianna's as well. A very good book in my opinion.
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