Title: Confessions of an Improper Bride
Author: Jennifer Haymore
Series: Donovan, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher
Serena Donovan left London six years ago, her heart broken and her reputation ruined by devilishly handsome Jonathan Dane. Now, with her family's future in peril, she reluctantly agrees to return to England and assume her late twin's identity. The price? Marry a man she doesn't love and spend the rest of her days living a lie.
Jonathan Dane, Earl of Stratford, has become an incorrigible rake, drinking, gambling-and trying to forget Serena Donovan. Yet the moment he's introduced to the prim and proper "Meg", he recognizes the sensual young woman who captured his heart. Haunted by his past mistakes, he refuses to lose Serena again. But convincing her to trust him is no easy task. Claiming his lost love means exposing the truth and destroying the life Serena has sacrificed everything to rebuild. With the future of all the Donovans at stake, and their undying passion capable of triggering yet another scandal, how much will Jonathan and Serena risk for a chance at true love?”
Confessions of an Improper Bride is book one in the Donovan series by Jennifer Haymore.
Six years ago Serena Donovan lost not just her reputation but her twin sister Meg as well. Meg disappeared in an unfortunate accident at sea when they were returning to Antigua from England after Serena was shunned by the ton when she was found in a very compromise situation with Jonathan Dane. A situation Jonathan could have easily solved by acknowledging her instead of the cowardly reaction of pretending not to know her.
Now Serena learns that her mother has told the world that she was the one who died at sea and not Meg, Serena also learns her mother has been corresponding with Meg’s old love flame William Langley, pretending to be Meg, and now after six years of love letters Will has proposed and wants Meg to come to London to marry him.
The last thing Serena wants is to return to London and face the people who treat her so poorly and even less she wants to pretend to be Meg and marry a man who is in love with her sister and not her; but her mother clearly explains that they are impoverished and she marrying a rich man like Will is the last option they have, not just for Serena’s future but for the future of her three younger sisters.
After this almost ultimatum, it’s clear Serena doesn’t have an option and travels to London in company of one of her younger sisters, Phoebe, to meet with her future husband.
Now back at London, the person she didn’t want to cross paths with is one of the first ones she encounters, the bane of her existence, Jonathan Dane, and to complicate matters even more her traitorous heart still beats for him. A heart she cannot listen to if she wants what is best for her family.
Jonathan has never been able to forget Serena and the guilt for his behavior towards her when she needed him the most and her subsequent death at sea has taken him by a path of self-destruction. And now her sister Meg is in London and just seeing her is making matters worst for him because she is making him think about Serena and she is also awakening feelings in him he thought he would never experience again. He feels sick for having these feelings towards his beloved’s sister and fiancée of his best friend William. But sometimes no one commands on matters of the heart.
Now Serena/Meg needs to fight against her heart, take care of her high-spirited sister Phoebe, and prevent another scandal while finding a way to live and marry a man she doesn’t love.
Confessions of an Improper Bride is a heart-breaking tale that would have you guessing page after page the outcome of this story, because there is not a simple solution to the predicament our heroine is in, doesn’t matter the decisions taken there is somebody that is going to be hurt. The question is who and how.
Ok, let me tell you I would not want to be in Serena’s shoes. Her agony and inner fights were so real that from page one I was cheering for her and wishing her the happy ending she so much deserves.
I wanted to hate Jonathan for what he did to Serena, but as with Serena’s feelings his repentance felt too real to hate him. He was just an immature man who let his family manipulated him. Over the years he has made himself pay for his actions and now he deserves a second change.
Mrs. Haymore’s writing in compelling and her characters are so well written that is very easy to empathize with them. The story is different from the norm and even though we know our heroine and hero are going to end up together the route they take to get there is not a predictable one.
There is also a nice secondary story involving Serena’s sister Phoebe.
This is my first book by Jennifer Haymore and I’m sure it won’t be my last. I’m planning to read the following installment on this series Secrets of an Accidental Duchess next year when it will become available. I would also love to know more about William Langley and hope he would have a happy ending too, why not, maybe a Meg coming back from somewhere…
My verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
Confessions of an Improper Bride
Secrets of an Accidental Duchess (2012)
Other reviews Goodreads