How did I get it: I requested a copy from Gallery & Pocket Books Romance Blog Tour Group on Book Blogs.
Why did I get it: First of all, the cover is gorgeous. I also really liked the review A Wedding Wager got from RT Book Reviews, and I wanted to give it a try.
How I would rate it: 3.75 out of 5 stars. Very, very close to a 4, but it just not quite there yet.
Serena Carmichael and her stepfather, General Heyward, have spent the past two years traveling around the capitals of Europe, running faro banks among the highest echelons of European society. Serena is indispensable to her stepfather in the business, not only as an experienced faro dealer but as a draw for the men, young and old, who find her charm and beauty irresistible.
Now, much to the delight of her lovesick suitor, the Honorable Sebastian Sullivan, Serena has returned to England with the general, who plans to expand his London gambling house and line his pockets at the expense of the city’s inveterate gamesters. Serena and Sebastian’s burgeoning love affair was cut abruptly short by her departure two years ago, and the two have struggled ever since to overcome their heartache. Unfortunately, their reunion is short lived — aiming to put a halt to the young lovers’ plans, the general has already decided to offer Serena up as a mistress to the dissolute earl of Burford.
As Lord Burford becomes more and more pressing in his demands, Serena and Sebastian are left with no choice but to concoct a plan that will turn the tables on the earl and her stepfather.
Review: This is a difficult book to review because my thoughts are sort of all over the place.
In terms of positives, I was thoroughly engaged the entire time I was reading. I found the writing in terms of establishing a historical feel to be absolutely excellent and the book was hard to put down. I also really liked the characters and the interactions although mainly I enjoyed the platonic ones. I definitely loved Sebastian and his twin brother Perry. I also liked the subplot about Serena’s young friend Abigail and her trying to find a way to be happy in spite of her mother’s desire to see her daughter become well-to-do and influential. Obviously these aspects of the book were fairly typical of historical fiction and romances, but they were very entertaining.
In terms of negatives, well, I definitely liked this book a lot… But the main romance relied a bit too much on illogical misunderstandings and decisions that seemed more likely to keep the two lovers apart than unite them. I also hated Serena’s hot and cold, yes and no attitude as well as her backward approach to resolving issues. Honestly, this is not rocket science. If someone wants to pimp you out for mortgages and someone else wants to marry you because he has always loved you and vice versa even after you bit a chunk out of his heart and stomped on it for no good reason… I’m pretty sure you eventually stop putting up with the horrible person and get together with the one you love. You definitely stop treating the one you love like he is the source of all your problems at the very least. I’m also pretty sure that no one in their right mind would stay within the sphere of control and influence of someone they need to routinely aim a pistol at, but I digress.
In conclusion, despite suffering a bit due to the illogical wavering and decisions on the part of its main female character, A Wedding Wager definitely managed to be more enjoyable and entertaining than a lot of other Historical Romances I’ve read lately. It certainly seems like a decided improvement over the first book in the Blackwater Brides series.