I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to read this book. Honestly, Anne Gracie was nowhere near my radar, and not reading this book would have been a tragedy for me in my opinion. Being this is the only book of hers I’ve read, I can’t say she’s on my must buy list of authors, but I have ordered a copy from Barnes and Noble, and I plan to read the two previous books in the series.
The story begins like a fairy tale. Jane Chantry is begging her mother to tell her the story of the day she was a princess. The day she met and fell in love with her father. Jane is very young and doesn’t seem to completely understand that her mother is sick. Jane’s older sister, Abby, does understand though and is trying to care for her mother the best she can. The family is one full of love but also full of struggle. Jane’s parents were disowned by their parents because they both left arranged marriages and eloped together.
We learn that the girls’ parents both die while they are very young. Somehow though through actions of Abby, the two girls along with two friends are in the care of Lady Beatrice. She claims the four girls are her nieces and wants them all to debut in the coming season. Jane’s focus for a husband is one of safety. Because of her difficult childhood, she believes love is the cause of their struggles and doesn’t believe it’s worth it.
Zachary has been serving England the last twelve years as a spy. His supervisor calls him back from the continent and informs Zachary that his cousin is trying to legally proclaim him dead so that he may take over the title. It’s more complicated than just proving he’s alive, however, because he also has a murder charge on his head. Until they can prove his innocence he must remain in disguise.
Jane and Zachary meet in a dirty alley both trying to save a poor dog from getting tortured by some street children. From this point forward the two are drawn to each other. Jane feels this attraction is just a distraction from her goal of a comfortable safe future. Zachary knows it isn’t good to get attached to a lady, but he can’t help himself. It’s all so very sweet, and the story picks up speed later.
One person I loved in this book was Lady Beatrice. If you have read Julia Quinn’s books you will be familiar with Lady Danbury. These two would be well matched. Especially with how often they stomp their canes! Oh how I loved it!
I would highly recommend this book to historical romance readers. I do think that reading the first two books in the series would be beneficial because the backstory was rushed a little in this book. The unknown of those books though has me wanting to read the first book, The Autumn Bride, so I can see what led them to where they are. The Spring Bride swept me away!
**ARC provided by Publisher**