She’d done it! Plain, invisible Evelyn had escaped. . .
Fed up with being a doormat to her evil stepmother, heiress Evelyn Bradshaw pays a dissolute rake to pose as her betrothed to she can secure her freedom. But then her fake fiance leaves her with his estranged brother Finn Matlock and disappears!
Having withdrawn from the world, Finn knows the last thing he needs is the temptation of a woman, especially one like Evie. She has an irritating habit of causing chaos wherever she goes and being in places she shouldn’t. . .including, as he soon learns, his heart!
Evelyn Bradshaw is trapped in a household with her stepmother and her daughters; people who hate her as much as need her, she is bullied daily about everything from her appearance to her personality, she is treated with no respect and even less dignity, but yet her venomnous stepmother, Hyacinth needs Evie around for one thing only and that is money. Evie has obviously had enough of how her life has panned out so she come’s up with a plan to finally escape her horrid step-family. . .Pay the most notorious rake in London to pretend to be her fiance, move to Yorkshire and live out her life in peace. Simple right?
Not quite! Fake-fiance Fergus has other idea’s, he unceremoniously dumps Evie into the care of his estranged twin brother Finn and does a flit. Evie may be a bit put out at first to be left and lied to, but she soon realises that this is better than her original plan. She has freedom to do what she want’s, no step-family or rake to contend with. . .there is just one blip. . . Brooding, handsome Finn!
Virginia Heath is becoming my go to author for good-natured, sweet Historical Romance and this is just as charming as her previous work, it is fun, sexy, a veritable tangled web of emotion and conflict between our two lead’s. Miss Bradshaws Bought Betrothal is based loosely on the well-loved Cinderella story. I do have to admit that as a child I was never drawn to Cinderella as most little girls were – I think it was the fact the she didn’t really have that much of a personality, she was a little “to badly-done-to” for my liking. Unlike other fairytale ladies such as Belle (Beauty and the Beast), I always thought Cinderella was too much the damsel. But I am so pleased to say that Evie, yes! maybe down-trodden and she is certainly bullied, but she is strong in her own way and resilient.
There is something very genuine and normal about Evie, something that all woman can relate to in one way or another, she is an insecure, normal woman. There is a beautiful paragraph at the beginning of the book, that can really resonate with a lot of people and it was this that single paragraph that really stuck with me, that really brought Evie to life something that doesn’t happen with a lot of character’s.
She could reinvent herself, be happy and finally climb out of her chrysalis. She did not expect to emerge as a butterfly – butterflies were far too lovely an insect for Evie to aspire to – but she was quietly confident that she could perhaps be a moth. In the dark, where nobody saw them, moths flew.
She an imaginative, resourceful and naive young woman, who has suffered greatly from the hands of her family, that psychological abuse is ever-present in her not matter how much she tries to over come it, she holds on to those memories of how she has been treated over the year’s making it difficult for her to move on. But on top of all that she is stubborn, bossy with such a beautiful kind heart.
I like the relationship between Evie and Finn, at first they come across as chalk and cheese but once you delve deeper into each of their pasts and personalities you soon realise that they are just perfect for each other, they tend to bounce off one and other. He gives her the confidence to go out there and do what she wants and banish the constant dark self-conscious thoughts, that she harbours. Whereas Evie is the light and life that Finn desperately needs in his life, he is a haunted, and guilt ridden man who has closed hisself off from the world. I heard a saying once “He doesn’t say much, but when he doe’s you have to listen” that is Finn Matlock in a nutshell. He reminds me of my all time literary hero; Heathcliffe. He is a brooding, monosyllabic, irritating and achingly handsome man who just needs a bit of love. But then again, Finn Matlock is a Yorkshireman through and through, and they don’t tend to announce their inner most feelings to people, so we can’t be too hard on him.
“I told you to stay on the chaise lounge!”
The sound of her slippers on the stone steps gave him mixed emotions. He could not deny that there was intense relief at being saved. However, his appointed saviour was the one person in Matlock House he did not want to do the saving. He had only succeeded in giving the woman more ammunition against him.
“Go away, madam. I can manage well enough on my own!” His legendary stubbornness made one final attempt at mutiny and Finn used his weaker arm to haul himself up one more step before she came alongside him and took control. . . .
. . . .He narrowed his eyes and scowled back at her. She might have his servants tripping over themselves to do her bidding, but he was his own man and the master of this house.
“Perhaps you have trouble understanding what I said. No. Blasted. Poultice!”
“if you refuse to listen to reason, then I shall have to have the physician called for and he can deal with your surliness.”
Finn was going to strangle the stubborn wench “Stop threatening me with the blasted physician, woman!”
I think Virginia has done a really good job with the Cinderella theme of this story, the aspects of the fairytale are all there; young girl being trodden on by her evil step-family only to be rescued by a handsome prince. That is just about where the Cinderella theme ends, as Evie is much sassier than old Cinders and no one would call our Finn “Just Prince Charming” He is charming in his own brutally blunt, boorish and rudely honest to a fault way.
This is much better than the original fairytale and one that I thoroughly enjoyed, it is a fun, clever and interesting take on a well-loved tale and one that should be read.
This was an ARC version provided by the author for an honest review, Miss Bradshaws Bought Betrothal is released on 17th January 2017.