All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

What The Bride Didn’t Know – Kelly Hunter

on October 18, 2013

What The BrideWhat The Bride Didn’t Know
Kelly Hunter
Harlequin Kiss
2013, 224p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Lena West has always been trying to keep up with her brainy and capable siblings as well as her older brother’s best friend Adrian, better known as Trig. In fact she’s wanted to keep up with them so much that she followed her older brother Jared and Trig into the special intelligence service as a field operative. Well over a year ago, Lena was shot in the abdomen during a mission and it’s been an incredibly long hard road of rehab. Considering her prognosis was a wheelchair for life, the fact that Lena is up and walking around is a show of her determination.

Now that shes mostly fixed herself, Lena is on a mission to find Jared, who disappeared 18 months ago either on a secret mission of his own, or perhaps not by choice. Lena can’t handle not knowing if Jared is okay and she’s gotten word that someone in Istanbul might be able to help her track him down. At the airport ready to leave, she is accosted by Trig, who, when she refuses to change her mind about the trip, declares that he’s going with her.

Lena has been in love with Trig for years and Trig has always wanted Lena too but Jared made it clear that his sister is off limits. But Jared isn’t around at the moment and when Lena is injured in Istanbul and believes that she and Trig are married, Trig finds it harder and harder to play to the boundaries of propriety when what he wants so much is right in front of him for the taking. But sooner or later Lena is going to remember that they’re not married and that Trig has been going along with her belief that they are – and that betrayal could mean that she’ll never talk to him again. And everything will be lost.

I originally requested this one because I thought it was an undercover pretending to be married story, which I have to admit, is one of my secret guilty pleasures. It wasn’t until I was reading it that I realised it was actually an amnesia story which leads to a pretend marriage and I was excited. I love amnesia stories – they’re even more of a guilty pleasure! And while I really enjoyed parts of this story, overall I don’t feel like it really satisfied me.

I loved that this was a friends to lovers story that involved both of them having wanted each other and had strong feelings for each other over the years but the older-brother-as-the-obstacle is my least favourite thing to keep two people apart. I think that it might work while the female is a mid-teen but as adults, it always seems petty and overbearing. Trig had basically quit his job and been reassigned away from field work to desk work to help Lena rehab after her shooting and I really appreciated his obvious commitment to her and her wellbeing especially as Jared was missing and wasn’t around to fill a role in Lena’s life taking care of her. He also lay his feelings for her on the line before she hits her head and she was ‘thinking about it’ which I found really sort of weird as it didn’t match up with pretty much everything else she’d said about Trig. It was obvious she had feelings for him but when he told her point blank he had feelings for her, she seemed frightened.

The amnesia story was interesting in that most of the amnesia stories I’ve read involve a character forgetting a marriage/spouse. In this Lena remembered Trig but she assumed they were married because of something that she overheard. She made things so difficult for Trig but I really don’t know why he didn’t just tell her that they weren’t married. He assumes she’ll wake up the next morning with her memory but she doesn’t and he ends up making life more difficult for himself by just carrying on with the lie. She asks him questions and he makes up all of this romantic stuff which makes her feel like they’re the perfect couple but then he won’t touch her or go near her in bed (because obviously he doesn’t want to take advantage of her in her delusion) but instead it makes her feel like he is disgusted by the scarring from her shooting and injuries. It’s a delicate balance of playing this out and at times I felt like Trig did some really really unnecessary things. Lying only made things worse when if he’d just explained to her in the beginning, he would’ve avoided a lot of awkward moments for them both and embarrassment for Lena.

Despite the fact that I feel like the lying was clumsily executed as the only way to advance the plot in the way in which the author wanted to do, I enjoyed the writing and the fact that the reader is always privy to Trig’s thoughts and feelings. Romance novels can often be a one sided affair and the male is sort of ignored or things are made enigmatic as the reader attempts to puzzle it out along with the heroine. This was refreshing in a way, to know how deeply Trig felt and how concerned he was for Lena.

I’ve tried to find out if this is part of a series and it doesn’t seem to be (at least Goodreads doesn’t tell me it is and the other books I’ve looked at by Kelly Hunter don’t seem to fit with it) but I can’t help feeling as though I was missing something with Lena’s family. Two of her siblings are partnered and they were introduced in ways where I felt like I should know them and their partners but I didn’t.  I may need to investigate further to see if there are more books concerning this family or if the over-familiar way was just the way it was written.

Overall, this was an entertaining read but I do feel as though the amnesia hindered things a little too much.

7/10

Book #268 of 2013

AWW2013

This is book #96 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013

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2 responses to “What The Bride Didn’t Know – Kelly Hunter

  1. Marg says:

    Late to the party I know, but yes, this is connected to Hunter’s previous two books. I remember reading the second one and thinking…wait, what?

    • Ah! I went back and looked again and I found them. The other 2 are a different imprint which is really weird. I kind of wouldn’t mind reading them, I liked the sound of the couples from the brief glimpse I got in this book.

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