A Bride of Honor, by Ruth Axtell Morren

Rating: ***– 3.5 Stars

GENRE: Regency Christian Romance

BOOK SUMMARY: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady of rank and distinction is no match for an impoverished preacher. Yet Damian Hathaway is entranced from the moment he spies Miss Lindsay Phillips entering his church. She doesn’t appear any different from the other pampered society ladies–and she’s betrothed to a gentleman of the ton. But Damian is determined to find the pure heart he’s sure exists underneath all the ruffles and lace. The unlikely friendship formed by Damian and Lindsay is a revelation to them both, but is frowned on by her parents–and Damian’s parishioners. Torn between two worlds, the pair must trust that their love can bridge the divide–and conquer all.

REVIEWER COMMENTS: A Bride of Honor is Ruth Axtell Morren’s  sequel to “The Making of a Gentleman”, but it is a stand on its own novel.  It is the romance which blossoms between a young lady of the ton, Lindsay, who is experiencing her first season in 1800 England, and a simple curate, Damian. The two have an instant attraction, and by circumstances often outside of their control, this unlikely couple finds itself “stuck” in an unplanned relationship, and has to overcome several obstacles until the very end. The romance is sweet, and there is a good amount of dialogues and narratives that have to do with matters of faith which I found enjoyable to read. The often impossible situations do get resolved at the end, and everyone lives happily ever after.

While Morren’s writing style is always a page turner for me, this novel is not without its flaws. SPOILERS ALERT: The main characters, as well as the story, were in many places unrealistic. I found Lindsay often childish, in particular at the beginning of the novel, and her personality was not always representative of a well bred woman of the English nobility of the time. Often she could not even finish a sentence, and appeared overly shy and insecure. The attraction between the two main characters develops right away, and too soon in my opinion. Why was Damien so attracted to Lindsay? Beyond her physical appearance and the fact that she was rich, I did not find much appealing about her at this point in the story. Throughout the novel, I found Damien not behaving as a pastor would: he often lies (when he takes his wedding vows or when he talks to the bishop, for example) with the excuse that “he was protecting her”. Mmmmm. Damian is also too easily persuaded to give up on his marriage to Lindsay, even after it is consummated. Again, there are reasons beyond his thinking, but what happened to “for better and for worse, until death”? And so on.

Overall, I throughout enjoyed reading this novel and toward the middle of the story, the characters really grew on me and I wanted to find out what happened to them, and how everything would be resolved. Even if I found many questionable events that often made me wonder, I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a sweet historical romance with a Christian theme.

SEXUAL CONTENT and ADULT LANGUAGE: A few passionate kisses and references to some bedroom scenes between a married couple, but nothing described.

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