Review: The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

Reviewed by Sara

The Duke Buys a Bride is an Historical Romance by author Sophie Jordan. The male main character and aforementioned Duke, is Marcus Weatherton the fifth Duke of Autenberry. While running away from his life in London to a long forgotten Scottish property, he comes across Alyse.

Alyse was raised by loving and educated parents. Unfortunately, due to their untimely demise, Alyse is auctioned as a wife to an older member of her village. She works as the housekeeper and care provider for his children until that man is ready for a “real” wife and arranges to auction Alyse. Alyse is frightened, but arranged with a childhood friend that he would buy her and they would leave for London. Unfortunately, Alyse’s friend never shows up and when Marcus first sets eyes on her, she is alone on the auction block at the mercy of the local townsmen. Marcus is immediately struck by Alyse’s bravery and places the winning bid. Marcus’ plan is to install Alyse as the housekeeper of his Scottish estate, but over the course of their journey and against the better judgement of both Marcus and Alyse, the two fall in love.

Aside from an exciting beginning, I found this books to be very underwhelming. It’s not that the story is bad; I just found it boring. The auction in which Marcus first sees Alyse was, for me, the most exciting part of the novel. This is partially because it’s so foreign a concept to our modern sensibilities and partially because Sophie Jordan does an excellent job building up the tension of the moment. Whether it’s Alyse realizing her childhood friend is not there and that she may soon become the wife of one of the rough men of the village, Marcus watching in horror as the auction becomes less and less like a business transaction and more like a horror show or the mood of the crowd growing more and more riotous and rude, Sophie Jordan really catches the feeling of watching something mundane snowball into an out of control catastrophe.

The journey Marcus and Alyse take forces them into each other’s company and confidence. During their travels and the various delays and emergencies they encounter, they discover their love for each other. I didn’t buy into it at all, though. I’m not one of those people that needs characters to suffer first in order for them to fall in love, but I need to feel like they are passionate with each other and I felt like there was very little chemistry between these two. I instead felt like Marcus wanted Alyse because she was smart, hardworking and because he’d slept with her, while Alyse fell in love with Marcus because he was the first man, aside from her father, who was kind to her… and because they slept together.

The story, much like the donkey Alyse had to ride all the way to Scotland, seemed to just plod along and even the events that were supposed to create tension, Alyse falling ill or an encounter with mischievous Highlanders, seemed boring and didn’t draw me in. When Alyse and Marcus finally reached their destination and their happily ever after I felt like I had missed something – primarily excitement.

I’m pretty easy to win over when it comes to Historical Romance, but The Duke Buys a Bride left me underwhelmed and with a sense of buyer’s remorse.

Rating: C-

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Duke Buys a Bride
by Sophie Jordan
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Avon

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