My Favorite Bride (Governess Brides, #6)

My Favorite Bride (Governess Brides, #6) - Christina Dodd What starts off as a rather endearing retelling of The Sound of Music where a virginal nun is replaced by a virginal pickpocket eventually devolves into an unsatisfying read in which the possibility of a true HEA seems unlikely.

Samantha has escaped her past as a famous pickpocket and lands in the employment of Colonel William Gregory as a governess . She is plucky, street-smart and, of course, extremely beautiful. The colonel is a widower with six children. He’s convinced that love isn’t for him. His passion is hunting down Russian spies and he believes no woman can possibly capture his heart. (Gotta say that I felt I little bad for his poor first wife. I guess bearing his six children wasn’t enough to earn his love.)

In the beginning of the book, the colonel shows real affection and concern for his children along with a grudging respect for his new governess. Naturally he is attracted to the governess but knows he can never marry her because she doesn't fit any of the criteria he has on his list for a wife. Samantha is also attracted to the colonel but knows that her secret past as a thief will ruin any chance of long term happiness with him. Despite these obstacles, they share a passionate kiss and suddenly all bets are off.

As the story progresses, though, the colonel's shine begins to tarnish. Little by little, his thoughts and actions reveal that he really is the uncaring, selfish man he’s proclaimed himself to be. I think this is what Oprah means when she says “When he tells you who he is, believe him.” He makes several remarks about his disdain for women in general and seems especially threatened by women who are “cool, focused and logical.” Samantha, of course, is the exact opposite of what he is seeking in a wife. She should consider herself lucky but fate has something else in store for her. When the colonel takes her virginity, it’s up against a wall. That struck me as less sexy and more inconsiderate but Samantha doesn’t complain so what do I know? The second time he has sex with her, however, Samantha most certainly is complaining. She says no and struggles but he continues to force his affection on her (even cutting off her nightgown with a knife in the process) until she eventually relents. It was at this point when I no longer viewed Colonel William Gregory as hero material.

The ending is bit rushed which was fine by me considering I almost stopped reading at the rapey part. Samantha realizes that the colonel will never forgive her for being a former pickpocket and she leaves to head back to London. I was rooting for her to escape his clutches for good especially when, at the 94% mark, he is still referring to her as “that lying little thief” who “had slashed him with her scorn and walked out of his life.” But this is a romance and within the space of a few paragraphs, the colonel does a 180 and suddenly loves Samantha with all his being and every negative thought he had about her is gone. He chases, begs, grovels and wins her back. There is no epilogue and a part of me wants to believe it’s because Samantha comes to her senses several months later, leaves the bugger and makes a happier life for herself in London away from him.