Publisher: Avon Books
Date published: July 26, 2011
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.
Anaïs de Rohan has a gift fitting of a member of the secret Brotherhood, the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis (FAC). However, as a woman in a man’s world, she is quickly rejected by the men of the St. James Society, despite having trained in accordance with the traditions of the FAC for ten years.
In an attempt to get her point across, to convince the Society that she is well worthy of becoming a member of the FAC, she daringly joins with Lord Geoffrey Bessett, one of the Society’s most ruthless and enigmatic leaders, who convinces her to join him on a trip to Brussels, posing as his young bride. Together, Anaïs and Lord Bessett travel to Belgium on a dangerous mission, intent on saving a young girl, one of their own, who has a frightening gift.
Befriending the girl’s mother, Charlotte, proves a feat in itself, as Anaïs uses all of her skills to gain her trust, in order to locate Giselle, her daughter. Despite the danger surrounding them, Anaïs and Lord Bessett are soon able to plan the rescue of the two frightened females, knowing their window to do so is quickly closing. Giselle’s powerful guardian, Lezennes, has his own agenda for his wards and never lets them out of his site, which makes it even more difficult for Anaïs and Geoff to carry through with their rescue plans.
Meanwhile, as Anaïs and Lord Bessett bide their time, they soon share an intimacy neither one wants. As they find themselves unable to resist one another, they also realize the need to protect one another as they move forward with their plans to save Giselle from Lezennes’ evil clutches. As they join forces with other loyalists to the FAC, they soon give in to their conflicting feelings for one another, although Anaïs knows their relationship can never be, once their mission is completed.
THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET by Liz Carlyle is an extremely well-written book, full of skillful characterizations and creative plotting. It is the first book I have read by this author and, although Ms. Carlyle is indeed a gifted writer, I had difficulty at the beginning of this book. There were so many characters involved, I suffered a bit of confusion as I tried to keep them all straight.
The pacing was slow throughout most of THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET, so I had to force myself to continue plowing through the story in order to finish it. However, once I made some headway, the pieces started falling into place as the story picked up some steam. Added suspense came midway through when plans were finally set in motion to rescue Giselle, the gifted child that Anaïs and Geoff were intent on saving. It is then I started getting more riveted to my seat and turned the pages more quickly to see what would happen next.
I enjoyed the characters, Anaïs and Geoff. Anaïs is a strong female heroine, and I enjoyed the many fencing scenes, especially at the end. Ms. Carlyle’s knowledge in that department is well-written and realistic. Geoff is a gorgeous hunk of nobility that any woman might swoon over. I especially loved the physical description Ms. Carlyle gave of him, especially of his incredible blue eyes and bronze hair. And I liked the fact that Geoff was a true gentleman in all circumstances.
Lizennes is an acceptable, truly dislikeable bad guy. I like that about him.
Ms. Carlyle tied up the ends quite well in THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET, but it seems as if there is an overboard of description and detail sometimes. It is a well-written story, but I found myself getting a bit bored by the end of the story. I think I would have liked to have seen a bit more excitement along the way. I did, however, enjoy Lord Bessett’s ruse while drawing buildings in the park, when he and Anaïs were intent upon fooling Lezennes as to their true natures. A nice touch of humor.
As a fan of historical romance, I did enjoy THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET. It is full of interesting historical information and tidbits of the paranormal, if that is what one enjoys. There are lots of detail, plenty of sensual delights, and some exciting moments toward the end when Anaïs shows herself in true form. If you are a true, die-hard fan of historical romantic fiction, then THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET is a pleasant way to while away the hours.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.