Unlike Ames, I’m familiar with Elizabeth Thornton, and have been following this since The Marriage Trap, so I knew there’ll be a larger part of the story devoted to suspense, although Katrina would beg to defer, despite the synopsis on the back cover:
It’s a challenge most men would avoid at all costs: to seduce the ravishing, reluctant Lady Marion Dane while avoiding that long walk to the altar. But Brand Hamilton, the base-born son of a duke with a bright future in politics, has his own compelling reasons for courting Marion.
Now, with society ablaze over a very unconventional courtship, they embark on a journey that takes them from the glitter and intrigue of London to a decades-old secret hidden in a far-off English village – and a love that could prove the most irresistible snare of all.
I’ve enjoyed all the Thornton books I’ve read thus far, and The Bachelor Trap is no exception, although there were some readers who found the jump from the epilogue into why Brand ended up with Marion and her sisters a lil’ vague. I’m used to the author’s style of setting the story, and building up the plot and mystery, so got into the spirit of the story pretty quickly. Besides, this book received excellent reviews.
One of the things I enjoy most about Thornton’s books is guessing the villain. She always manages to spring a surprising, and unlikely, villain on you. Sometimes the villains she created are such ordinary people you wouldn’t have picked up any clues about them until he or she is unmasked. I was kept guessing right until almost the very end in The Marriage Trap, but in The Bachelor Trap, I already had a hunch who the ‘villian’ – she’s a harmless looking frail old lady with a disturbed mind – is when she made an appearance, but couldn’t guess the identity of her accomplice, who turned out to be a surprise for me.
Thornton wrote a fascinating article on her villains on her site, and it sort of explains why ordinary people could become villainous taking a wrong turn. After all, the line between good and evil lies in the choices one makes. And so it is with the ‘villains’ in this book. They’re simply ordinary people who made the wrong judgment call.
Besides the guessing game, I was pleased with how the hero, Brand’ was fleshed out in this story. He first appeared, together with a secondary character Lord Ash Denison, in The Marriage Trap. He was this enigmatic media powerhouse (newspaper man) in there, and had already demonstrated his skills in investigating, so when Marion’s aunt Edwina wrote him to delve into the mystery of her sister (Marion’s missing aunt) Hannah, I connected with the story immediately, particularly when Edwina was murdered. He stayed true to character although there was a bit of struggle against baring his heart to Marion, and showing affection for his rather dysfunctional family.
Marion paled a little beside Brand, IMO. She wasn’t one of the most memorable heroines Thornton has created, although she complements Brand rather well, and brings out the protectiveness in him.
Some of the secondary characters who propped up the story added extra dimension to the subplot of family love and support, so it ended up as a rather well-rounded family drama which I found quite touching. Now, I’m hoping Thornton would give Ash, this wealthy Scottish lord who pretends to court heiresses to throw fortune hunting mamas off his course, his story next. This charming rogue deserves to be shackled to his true love, and I hope his downfall would be magnificent.