The Bridal Season, by Connie Brockway

>> Friday, September 19, 2003

The best book I read this week was a Connie Brockway: The Bridal Season. I'd read the sequel, Bridal Favors and had loved it, so I ordered this one, even though the review I'd read hadn't sounded very tempting. I'm very glad I did!

Attempting to elude her occasional partner in crime, Nick Sparkle, music hall performer Letty Potts found freedom at the Paddington train station in the form of a ticket to Little Bidewell originally purchased by Lady Agatha Whyte, a wedding coordinator hired by the Bigglesworth family. Upon arriving in Little Bidewell, Letty is immediately mistaken by the Bigglesworths for Lady Agatha, and before she realizes what's happening, Letty finds herself masquerading as a high-society wedding consultant.

At first no one, not even the delectably handsome local magistrate, Sir Elliot March, suspects Letty's secret, but the longer Letty stays in Little Bidewell, the greater the chance she has of not only hurting the Bigglesworths but also of falling in love with Elliot.
The Bridal Season was absolutely wonderful, an A. It was one of Brockway's lighter books, and I'm in awe that the woman who can write a book as unrelentingly dark as All Through The Night can also write light comedy as good as this one.

Even though, as I said, this was light and funny, this doesn't mean it was lightweight or not as good as darker reads. It had plenty of stomach-clenching moments of high emotion, and even moments when I almost cried. Brockway is amazing!

Letty and Elliot were absolutely wonderful. I'm not usually fond of con-men (or women), but Letty was refreshing. She wasn't doing it for the orphans, or anything like that, she just did it. Now she has some regrets, but she's not all broken up about it. I especially loved how she tried so hard to convince herself that she was a cynic and then she kept feeling things she didn't want to feel. And Elliot I loved. He's the type of honourable hero I adore, always trying to do the right thing, always trying to treat people well, not because it's expected of him, but because he thinks it's the right thing to do. He was just wonderful.

The story was great, too. The plot about the wedding preparations was wonderfully fun, and I loved the secondary characters, even (I confess), the matchmaking servants. The setting was also very well done. I felt I was right there, and I really wanted to be right there.

Why not an A+? Just a couple of little niggles. First, the fact that Letty turned out to be a virgin. This didn't go with the rest of her personality. Was Brockway too scared to go all the way? And also, the ending. It made sense, and the final scene was wonderfully romantic, but I'm always sad when there are long separations...

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