Review – The Bashful Bride (Advertisements for Love #2) by Vanessa Riley

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A friend’s newspaper advertisement for a groom nets the most famous actor in London, Arthur Bex. Shy heiress Ester Croome proposes to elope with the handsome man, who she’s secretly loved for two years, in order to escape an impending engagement arranged by her overbearing family.

Trying to outlive the shadow of his villainous uncle, Bex needs to marry quickly—to a woman of good character. And smart, beautiful Ester fits the bill. But a harrowing trip to Gretna Green and dangerous abolition rallies prove to be a more treacherous stage than either imagined. Infatuation and a mutual love for Shakespeare might not be enough to bind a couple looking to outrun the chains and secrets of family and the past.

My View

This is book two in the ‘Advertisements for Love’ series, and I have to say that this one is so far my favourite. It’s thrilling, real and romantic with such a swoon-worthy hero!

Ester Croome has been told by her parent’s in no uncertain terms that she is going to marry a womanizing lothario, who just by chance is the heir to a great business and whose marriage to Ester’s father would mean both families would become an awfully lot more well off. But, Ester has been in love with another man for two years, since she sat next to the brilliantly handsome actor; Arthur Bex. She doesn’t want to settle down into an unloving marriage like her parent’s, she wants to do more her dream has always been to become an actress along Mr Bex.

Ester in a unhappy and unhealthy household, she is being walked over by her bullying father and mousy mother. She is being controlled and manipulated by her father, underneath that unhappy and somewhat forlorn persona, I think that she has real fire. She has a passionate, caring and considerate nature and when she is with Arthur her true self shines through.

I like how Riley has hinted at a scandal that happened over Christmas with Ester, the details of that even are held back and very slowly revealed throughout, which is very cleverly done, and it keeps your gripped and wanting to know what happened.

When her best friend Frederica places an advertisement in the paper for a husband, she begins writing to the man who has answered when the day comes for Frederica and ‘Mystery Man’ to meet, thing’s don’t go to plan as Frederica’s ‘man’ is actually Arthur Bex and he is under the assumption that Ester is the woman he has been writing to. To say that Ester is excited to be talking to her idol is an understatement, she sees this as her perfect opportunity to finally be rid of her of commanding and manipulative parent’s, she goes against her nature and does something so unexpected; She proposes to elope with Arthur.

London actor Author Bex is trying to move out of the shadow of his family history, an history that Arthur is deeply ashamed of having in his families’ past, and now because of it he is trying to make amends. To do so and make the changes to help, he needs a wife. Which is when he answered the advertisement, little did he realize that he wouldn’t only find himself a woman who he relates to and wants to help in his campaign for abolition, but he also finds his soul mate.

Arthur is a good man, he has a passionate and caring soul who fights for what he believes in, he believes in justice and rights and freedom. He isn’t your regular hero, I found him to be really quirky he has a great personality fun as well as serious, he is a principled and moral man. He is guilt ridden though for his family history and especially his evil uncle, which explains why he fights so hard for and why he is so serious.

As they make their way to Gretna Green they face far more danger than angry parent’s and scandal, can their mutual connection, love of Shakespeare and passion for rights and freedom be enough to see this couple through what they are about to face.

They are such a cute couple, they are equally besotted with each other and I love how he instantly knows that Ester is the one, she isn’t just a women e needs for his campaign he knows that she is his soul mate. Which is so lovely!

The only thing that didn’t like was when Ester and Arthur first meet and she is constantly calling him by his full name; Author Bex. I found that a little off putting, but it didn’t take anything away from the story or their relationship, I just found that a little irritating.

This series is getting better and better and I am looking forward to seeing where Riley takes it and what comes next. The Bashful Bride is an emotional story that will tug at your heartstrings, it takes you on a real journey. Riley has put her heart and soul into this, you can feel the emotion through her words, and how deeply personal this story is. It’s raw, intriguing and beautifully written.

A wonderful addition to this lovely series.

This was an ARC copy via the author through Netgalley.

The Bashful Bride is out now and can be purchased from Amazon.

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