Helena Fitzhugh understands perfectly well that she would be ruined should her secret love affair be discovered. So when a rendezvous goes wrong and she is about to be caught in the act, it is with the greatest reluctance that she accepts help from David Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings, and elopes with him to save her reputation. Helena has despised David since they were children – the notorious rake has tormented her all her life. David, on the other hand, has always loved Helena, but his pride will never let him admit the secrets of his heart. A carriage accident the day after their elopement, however, robs Helena of her memory – the slate is wiped clean.
At last David dares to reveal his love, and she finds him both fascinating and desirable. But what will happen when her memory returns and she realizes she has fallen for a man she has sworn never to trust?
Rating: B+ for narration; A- for content
The third novel in Ms Thomas’ Fitzhugh Trilogy, Tempting the Bride is the story of Helena Fitzhugh (twin sister of Fitz from Ravishing the Heiress) and David Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings. The pair has appeared in secondary roles in the previous books and has the sort of antagonistic relationship which is most definitely NOT one of those “we-bicker-but-only-because-we’re-trying-to-hide-our-mutual-attraction” associations so beloved of romantic novels. No, Helena detests the ground Hastings walks on, and it seems he returns the favour.
In reality, however, Hastings has been desperately in love with Helena since he was fourteen, and, in the way of the hormonally challenged teenaged boy, resorted to insults, practical jokes and, later, sexual innuendo in an attempt to get her to notice him. Unfortunately, while he has grown up in all other respects, when it comes to Helena, he has never been able to progress beyond the metaphorical pigtail-pulling, which has become more and more barbed as the years have progressed. He has reached a point where he can’t see how he can possibly pull himself out of the pit he’s spent half his life digging.
Helena may be the wealthy sister of an earl, but her independent nature, university education and ownership of a publishing house mean that she is walking a societal tight-rope. One false step could lead to social ostracism, and it seems she is heading for just that disaster, for she is in love with a married man.
Hastings is the one person who can see all this clearly, and he warns Helena off on several occasions. The problem, of course, is that because the warnings come from him, she refuses to see the sense of what he tells her and not only ignores him, but becomes even more determined in her pursuit and reckless in her actions. Things come to a head when Helena and her lover, Andrew Martin, walk into a trap laid by Martin’s busy-body sister-in-law; only Hasting’s quick-thinking stands between her and ruin and while his actions avert disaster, she is compromised and they are obliged to marry.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.