By Tqwana B.
3 out of 5 stars ★★★☆☆
The Bittersweet Bride is a fitting title for the romance that unfolds in this novel. It is full of conflict to get to that HEA. Maybe a little too much conflict. There’s the heroine Theo vs. the hero Ewan’s family over ownership of her home Tradenwood. And Theo trying to do what’s right for her son. And the unwanted advances of the villain Lester. And Ewan and Theo not trusting each other after a failed romance six years prior. The actual newspaper ad part of Advertisements for Love gets somewhat lost in all of this. There’s also the class, social, economic, racial, and gender politics of the day to contend with. It feels a bit overwhelming.
I loved learning about Blackamoors in England; this was my first encounter with even the term itself. It’ll be great to explore than more with future books in the series. I’m especially curious about Theo’s friend Frederica (and possibly Ewan’s brother). Though Ester will probably surprise us. It’s always the quiet types…
But, the strength and heart of the novel is Theo, who, as previously stated, faces an uncommon amount of odds – her race, her low birth, and the secret she must keep to protect her son. But, her strong will and determination shine brightly. Theodoshia Cecil is actually too much woman for Ewan Fitzwilliam. That man was lucky to win her heart again, tbh.
And look at that beautiful updated cover! This is what Vanessa Riley deserved in the first place…
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Synopsis: Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.
Ewan Fitzwilliam has been at war for six years. Now, the second son of a powerful earl is back but his beloved Theo needs a husband and will not consider him. She believes Ewan left her—in desperate straits—so she denies the feelings she still harbors for the handsome, scarred soldier. Theo and playwright Ewan must overcome bitter lies and vengeful actions that ruined their youthful affair. Theo must reveal her deepest secret in order to reclaim the love that has long been denied.