The Spring Bride (Chance Sisters #3)
Penguin Books AUS
Copy courtesy of the publisher
It is almost the London Season and Jane Chance is about to make her debut into society. Stunningly beautiful, it was always the hope that she would be the one to secure a brilliant match. But her sisters Abby and Damaris have also managed to secure themselves wonderful husbands – wealthy, eligible men that are also kind. Men that the sisters love and who love them in return.
For Jane, she’s never really considered love a priority. She remembers hunger and she remembers fear. What she wants is stability, the knowledge that she and any children she may have in the future are always well taken care of. Her parents risked it all to refuse their arranged matches and marry for love. But that love didn’t keep them clothed and fed and Jane has never really forgotten how that played out for her and Abby. They’re safe and happy now…but for a while, things were very bleak indeed.
Just as Jane receives the offer that could give her all she thinks she craves, she meets Zachary Black. At first she thinks he’s a gypsy but in reality Zachary is a former spy now laying low in London in order to clear his name and claim his inheritance. He’s by far not the pauper that Jane considers him to be but he can’t tell her who he is just yet. Jane fascinates him – her combination between perfect looks and her compassion to the street urchins as well as her ability to handle herself in dangerous situations.
Jane knows that she shouldn’t fall in love. Especially not with a man who cannot give her the security she desires. Even though Zachary is the most interesting man she’s ever met and he makes her feel things that others don’t.
The Spring Bride is the third in the Chance series about four sisters (two are actual sisters, the other two are somewhat adopted sisters but all view the other three as their sisters) finding love in society London. Jane was the sister that they were trying so hard to get a proper season because she was by far their best chance of making an advantageous match and by that I mean she is supposed to be by far the most beautiful. Despite this belief early on, two of her sisters have already made very good marriages already. Now Abby, Jane’s sister, wants Jane to know the same happiness that Abby has found.
But Jane doesn’t want to muddy her decision with sentimentality. I felt as though this was a really interesting part of the story because a lot of the time, a debutante does want to find someone to love (as well as being a Duke with 10,000 a year and a country estate etc). In this story, Jane doesn’t really consider love to be a factor in making a choice what proposal to accept – and she does receive one very early, before the Season officially begins. The man offering for her is very wealthy, a collector of beautiful things and it’s quite obvious that’s what he considers Jane to be. Just another beautiful thing that he can add to his collection, something to raise his status because he married the most beautiful debutante. All Jane wants really, is a settlement agreed to to ensure she will be taken care of, along with their children (if any) should something happen to him. I really enjoyed Jane’s struggle to do the thing that would secure her what she’s always craved, the knowledge that she’d never be poor or hungry again. However there’s no denying that the man offering for her is a condescending twit, who makes the most irritating remarks about the way she should behave and the fickleness that’s inherent in her because she’s female. However I absolutely loved Jane’s speech to him toward the end of the book, when she realises she can’t marry him. That conversation could’ve gone one way, with him making her feel inferior but Jane gently asserted herself and steered it back to the fact that he was marrying her for all of the wrong reasons, even in this society and that he’d be happier if he looked beyond the most perfect face and accepted a person as a whole for his future wife. It was a nice touch, that entire part of the plot and I think it worked really well with Jane’s struggle and character.
I found the character of Zachary pretty interesting as well. He appears very rough around the edges in the beginning and he’s been out of the country for over a decade. He’s quite persistent in the beginning as well, even after Jane tells him not to return he still does. Even though he’s attracted to her, the way in which the story plays out means that they get to know each other quite well, even though Jane is betrothed to another man. It gives their relationship a lot of time to develop, gives Jane a chance to see what sort of man Zachary is and hear his story (which she accepts unquestioningly, especially as he has the support of Lady Beatrice as well). I also loved how there is somewhat of a role reversal at the end of this story. It is Jane who takes it upon herself to make a journey to find something that will help Zachary. She is the saviour, rather than the one who needs to be saved. She takes a big risk – she could potentially be ruining herself given she’s broken her engagement and if she cannot find what she needs, Zachary will probably hang. Even though she’d never be left to starve (her family would see to that) it’s still something that requires Jane to give up her comfortable ambitions and embrace love and a very different possible future.
I’ve enjoyed this whole series and I’m a little sad that there’s only one more left. However I am really excited to see what Daisy’s story will bring because she is so different I think, to the rest of the girls. She has very different ambitions and is from quite a different background.
Book #105 of 2015
The Spring Bride is book #46 of my Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015