Rule's Bride by Kat Martin

This book has actually been out for some time, but I wanted to break up this streak of paranormal romances and urban fantasies.

Rule's Bride is the conclusion to the Bride's Trilogy by Kat Martin, historical romances, set in 19th century London, about three brothers and their bouts with love. Rule Dewar is the youngest brother, a confirmed rake who has never experienced love. Out of duty, he agrees to marry his American business partner's daughter in order to look after her. One problem -- Violet Griffin is only sixteen. They marry in name only, and Rule promises to return to America when Violet is older and ready to be his wife. Except, Rule isn't ready to be a husband, and he doesn't return for his bride as he said he would. Three years later, Violet has grown tired of waiting around for a husband who doesn't want her, so she takes matters into her own hands goes to him. But where Rule wants a reconciliation with his unexpectedly beautiful wife, Violet wants an annulment and a complete parting of ways.

Let me preface by saying I've haven't read the first two books of this series or anything else by Kat Martin. Perhaps if I had, I would have liked this book more, though I doubt it.

First and foremost, I did not like Rule. He started off as a self-centered asshat just out to get laid. As the story progressed, he turned into a moronic asshat just out to get laid that needed to grow up more than just a little. Every time he possibly redeemed himself, he then went and proved himself to be, yet again, self-centered, moronic, or both.

By comparison, Violet seems like a very likable and sensible character. But she up and decides she's in love with Rule because he looks good and has a moment of quasi-heroism. My estimation of her continued to decline each time her common sense was warped by hormones.

So, basically, these two deserve each other given how idiotic they both are. Their relationship, which seems to consist of sex and jealousy, hits an impasse, then they go whining about to someone else, said confidant tells them what to do, they go back to their shallow relationship, rinse and repeat. This is really a cautionary tale about two strangers jumping into a relationship together -- very vapid and aggravating. Plus the whole resolution to Rule's supposedly inability to love, and all because he didn't have a mommy . . . give me break. I don't want to toss out a spoiler, in case someone actually wants to read the book, or else I'd really rant about the ending.

Most everything else about the book wasn't enough to get me past the above gripes. Lots of -- too many -- minor characters that I didn't care about, which turned into so much clutter. A suspenseful plot that I couldn't pay attention to, annoyed as I was by the characters. In short, nothing much to recommend this.

But! I did enjoy the side story between Caroline, Violet's cousin, and Luke, Rule's buddy, quite a bit. Oh, how I wish the author had chucked Rule and Violet entirely and just written a book about Caroline and Luke. There was a true romance, there were well-rounded characters. I eventually gave up on Rule and mostly read their story. What a waste of potential.

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