Title: His Darling Bride
Author: Anna DeStefano
Series: Echoes of the Heart #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: April 26th
Bethany Darling doesn’t kiss men at first sight…until she falls into the arms of a handsome cowboy bartender.
A mysterious stranger, Mike helps scare off Bethany’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend. Mike’s touch feels like coming home. But Bethany’s so not interested. Between stalled-out dreams of becoming a painter, troubles reconnecting with her sprawling foster family, and the happy chaos of her sister’s upcoming wedding, Bethany’s already in over her head. But each time she and Mike stumble across each other in small-town Chandlerville…sparks fly.
A famous photographer hiding under a Stetson, Mike Taylor recognizes Bethany as a kindred artistic spirit. Together they rekindle her passion for painting—and she inspires him in unexpected, undeniable ways. Then when Mike’s own past threatens to tear apart his present, Bethany becomes his safe place to turn.
Can these two wandering souls finally trust their hearts? Or will they run from the forever love they never expected to find?
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
This enjoyable romance has family firmly at its heart, as it tells a tale of two very similar artistic souls who have made a habit of running, neither of whom are looking for love, yet they can’t quite stay away from each other either. It’s a warm tale, which is driven by emotion, and though at times it skirted the edge of irritation, I still found it a good read.
I have to admit most of my irritation was caused by Bethany. She’s a woman who has been through a lot, arriving in foster care with the Dixon family as a teenager and afraid to believe in their love because it seemed too good to be true. That sort of feeling has guided Bethany’s life, to the point where she seems to give up on anything good in her life, just to stop it from hurting her. Even though I understood this about her, it still really annoyed me when she kept running from Mike – or rather, ignored him. I hated her ignoring habit, almost as much as I hated the way she undermined all of Mike’s good work because he scared her by being too amazing.
I really liked Mike. Yes, he’s a wanderer, but he has his reasons and he tries never to hurt anyone. Like Bethany, he has a few issues in his past, but I loved the way he’d made so much of his life, even if he never stayed anywhere long. I also liked how he saw Bethany – and especially how he saw her art. In fact, one of my favourite things about this book was the creativity. It was great – the photography and the painting and the way they inspired each other, and the scenes between Mike and Camille were just gorgeous.
But this book is not just about the romance, it’s very much about family too, and that side of things was really strong. At times I wasn’t convinced by the romance, but the role of the Dixons and the bond between Bethany and her foster-siblings was amazing throughout. I really enjoyed reading about them, and since this is my first taste of this series and author, I’ll definitely be looking out for more of them all.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable, heartwarming read about family and art and learning to trust in the good things in life, then give this a go. There are times when the romance is a little more convoluted than it probably needs to be, but there’s always something else going on to be enjoyed. I liked it, and I look forward to reading more about this family soon.
His Darling Bride is out April 26th!
Visit Anna DeStefano for more details.