The heroine of Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh is a spinster who has put off romance but is searching for meaning in life. Through her chance encounter with the reclusive Lord Carew, she finds friendship, love, and self-discovery.
Illustrator: Ted Sizemore
Imprint or Line: Signet Regency
Book Series: Stapleton-Downes #4
Published by: Signet
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks, Open Library (BORROW FOR FREE)
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
The Book Backstory
I have a secret to confess about Mary Balogh. She’s an author I’ve always meant to read, but because I can only accomplish so little in life, her books would get pushed down in my TBR list. I own about twenty of her romances, but except to delight in a few covers I’ve never touched them.
One day I decided that it was as good as any to start. The reviews for Lord Carew’s Bride intrigued me. although I couldn’t find the title among my books. So instead of reading one of the romances I already owned, I ordered a copy of Lord Carews’ Bride. And I’m glad I did; the cover is darling!
It was then that I realized I already owned it; the story was part of a two-in-one volume with Dark Angel.
Now this means I have to get a copy of the original version of Dark Angel because my book-collecting OCD demands I must!
Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh was originally published as a 1995 Signet Regency romance. The story tells of Samantha Newman, an increasingly aging spinster (she’s in her mid-twenties!), searching for meaning and fulfillment in her life.
Through Samantha’s chance encounter with the reclusive Marquess of Carew, Balogh weaves a tale of friendship, love, and self-discovery.
At 25 years old, Samantha is almost on the shelf. But because she is beautiful, she is still courted by many gentlemen. Nevertheless, she is still troubled and unhappy due, in part, to past heartache.
During a stay in the country with her friends, Jennifer and Gabriel, Samantha takes a walk and stumbles upon the property of the reclusive Marquess of Carew. She meets an unassuming crippled man who is warm and amiable. Thinking he is a landscape designer, she builds a cordial friendship with him.
Only later does she discover that he is no mere gardener but is actually the wealthy marquess.
Back in London, Samantha is again threatened by the man who broke her heart years earlier when she was a fresh-faced debutant.
Lord Carew is also in London, and it is then the true identity of Samantha’s supposed landscaper friend is revealed. Lord Carew will always be Samatha’s confidante and ally, regardless of who he is. He offers sanctuary from the emotional drama and pledges to marry her.
Deciding that friendship is better than the heartache of love, Samantha accepts Carew’s marriage proposal.
Their marriage is one of convenience. Nevertheless, as they get to know each other, they realize that their feelings for each other transcend mere affection.
The relationship between Hartley Wade, Lord Carew, and Miss Newman unfolds gently, with tender moments like when she massages Carew’s injured hand.
Samantha acknowledges that what she feels for Carew is more than mere friendship; it’s love.
Lord Carew’s Bride is not an angsty, overly dramatic book with nail-biting cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. This a slow, character-study of romance. I’m not complaining! It was a real treat to experience.
One of the standout elements is how Balogh portrays the relationship between Samantha and Carew, her “landscaper” friend. The two characters are so different from each other on the surface, but as they spend time together their bond grows gradually and authentically.
These two protagonists genuinely like each other, and it’s s a joy to watch it unfold.
The case of mistaken identity allows for a unique dynamic between Samantha and Carews. When his true identity is revealed later on, it is handled in a most satisfying manner.
Another of this book’s strengths is how Balogh explores the issue of romantic relationships and contentment. Samantha’s journey from being unsatisfied with her life to finding happiness in friendship to true joy in marriage underscores this theme more deeply than one might expect in a 225-page romance.
Balogh has a real talent for bringing characters to life and exploring the complexities of love.
Steam Factor: Sw
eet Meets Warm
Obviously, this is a trad regency, so the steam factor isn’t going to be sizzling. The romantic relationship between Samantha and Carew grows gradually and authentically.
They find pleasure with each other in their marital bed, although it doesn’t start as a roaring fire of passion. There’s a moment where Carew thinks to himself of how delightful their nights together are, even if his new bride is still shy and unready to initiate love play.
Carew was confident time would change that as he was a patient lover. He could never force his bride into sex for his own pleasure; instead, he sought reciprocity and mutual enjoyment.
The slow-burning romance between them heats ups, and some sensitive readers might feel a pleasant tingle. Lord Carew’s Bride straddles the line between sweet and warm. Should we call the heat level swarm? Weet?
Let’s just keep it at “where sweet meets warm.”
Final Analysis of Lord Carew’s Bride
Lord Carew’s Bride is a charming love story with engaging writing. Balogh’s prose is quite, almost exquisite, at times. The way she portrays the love between Lord Carew and Samantha is nothing short of delightful.
Lord Carew is the epitome of a wounded hero, and readers will root for him every step as he overcomes his physical limitations and finds love and happiness.
Despite a few less-than-perfect moments, this is certainly a book I’ll recall fondly. Certainly, if you’re looking for an engaging traditional Regency romance, Lord Carew’s Bride is a great place to start. I’d rank it as a must-read for fans of the genre.
|Rating Report Card|
Samantha Newman is getting older, but though she is beautiful and courted by a large number of gentlemen, she is restless and unhappy. While she is staying in the country with her friends Jennifer and Gabriel, she takes a walk alone and wanders onto the property of the reclusive Marquess of Carew. She meets him far from the house and mistakes him for a landscape designer. He is an ordinary-looking man and is half crippled. He is also friendly and unassuming, and Samantha soon relaxes into a warm friendship with him.
It is only much later, back in London, when she is again threatened by the man who broke her heart years ago during her come-out Season, that Samantha discovers who her friend really is. And this time she is tempted to settle for the contentment of friendship in order to escape the pain of love.Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh