This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
About The Book
Available digitally for the first time ever, Duncan’s Bride is a classic novel of romantic suspense from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard
It’s been seven years since rancher Reese Duncan’s first wife left him high and dry, and he’s been trying to rebuild his life ever since. What he needs is a dependable mate—someone uncomplicated with whom he can start a family and who will help out around the ranch. At first glance, city girl Madelyn Patterson seems all wrong. But Madelyn isn’t after his money or his land. She wants the one thing Reese can’t guarantee—his heart.
Featuring an excerpt from TROUBLEMAKER, Linda Howard’s new hardcover novel!
Duncan’s Bride is a story that I have been wanting to read for the longest time, and yes it’s one of those books that you have seen on all of the top romance bookish listings so I have been highly intrigued by this book and what the author would deliver here. I have been really wanting to read more of this author, especially her older books as her writing style just seems to work so well for me. And I just adore this new cover that Avon has done for this book, it’s just so pretty and classy. This story also intrigued me because its a contemporary but also has a mail-order bride and a marriage of convenience set up and that is something you just don’t see hardly in the contemporary genre at all. MAil order bride themes is actually one of my favorite so going into this story I was so intrigued. But we also have a set up of the hero being so bitter against marriage and women and having zero trust and I was curious to see how this type of hero would work into the story.
So it begins with the hero knowing that he needs a wife. He lost about just everything when he thought he found the one but ends up she ruined him financially through the divorce. He is working hard to get his ranch back to what it used to be and he is barely making it but he has grit and determination but he also realizes he needs marriage and family. So he puts an ad out for a wife and even though he doesn’t think that Madelyn will be the woman that could be a rancher’s wife but there is a connection between them that he can’t deny from their first meeting. From the beginning of their marriage, Madelyn has known the boundaries that Duncan has set for their marriage. She is a born and raised city girl, but she wants more out of her life and she knows that a life with Duncan won’t be easy, is a risk she is willing to take despite her brother’s protests to the match. The chemistry is fierce between Duncan and Madelyn, and Madelyn quickly falls in love with Duncan and possesses just as much stubbornness as her husband and will show him that not all women are like his first wife, but putting thought into action isn’t as easy and their marriage will be tested as Duncan will have to face up to some real truths.
What I Loved
There was so much that I dearly loved about this book. There is such fierce chemistry between these two, And as individuals, I absolutely adored the characters in Duncan and Madelyn. They have such strong personalities and it tends to really work for them so well. I was intrigued about this mail order bride situation. I related so well with Madelyn and I was cheering for her all the way through the book. You can see what a hard and stubborn man Duncan is, and seeing this unrequited love story blossom will just tear at your insides at times. You can see how much Madelyn is willing to endure to show Duncan that she is not like his first wife. But it takes time and patience and seriously Madelyn has earned a place of sainthood because Duncan really pushes her limits but she stays true all the way through and I loved seeing this type of devotion from her Duncan is definitely pure alpha male at times, he likes having his way but is also bitter with how he was betrayed so you can see why he has his trust issues. I felt like the author handled certain elements of this circumstance so well and I really respected this so well. Also, I can’t wait to get to the brother’s book because I adored his character and I am so curious to see what happens with him.
What I Struggled With
Alright, so I really felt like toward the end of the story, the conflict and resolution just didn’t quite match up for me. It felt too drawn out and I felt like the way the hero acted was way too extreme for me. While I could understand why he was angry, the way he treats the heroine for it just rubbed me the wrong way but I also didn’t understand the way the heroine made him grovel so long. While I love a good grovel, It was too drawn out. I expected her to have more grace and it didn’t seem to fit her character from what we had seen previously in the story.
Duncan’s Bride was an endearingly angsty read that brings satisfaction to the reader from beginning to end. Its a tale of betrayal, unrequited love, and beautiful endurance that took my breath away!
Title: Duncan’s Bride
Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Storytelling Quality: 4
Story Itself: 4
Character Development: 4
Writing Style: 4.25
World Building 4
Feels + The Romantic Heart 4
Cover Art 5
Overall Rating of the Book
Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy
Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.
Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.
Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.
Duncan’s Bride-Pub 1990 #1 in the Series
Loving Evangeline-Pub 1994 #2 in the Series
About The Author
Linda S. Howington is an American best-selling romance author writing under the pseudonym Linda Howard. After 21 years of penning stories for her own enjoyment, she submitted a novel for publication which was very successful. Her first work was published by Silhouette in 1982. She is a charter member of Romance Writers of America and in 2005 Howard was awarded their Career Achievement Award.
Linda Howard lives in Gadsden, Alabama with her husband, Gary F. Howington, and two golden retrievers. She has three grown stepchildren and three grandchildren.