Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date of Publication: August 4, 2009
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: Undercover agent Gideon Yarbro is renowned for stopping outlaws almost before they commit a crime. But now he must stop a wedding --- despite the bride's resistance. Lydia Fairmont will lose everything if she doesn't honor her betrothal to a heartless banker. Unless she marries someone else instead ... whether it's a love match or not.
Determined to honor his own decade-old promise to help Lydia, Gideon carries her off to Stone Creek and makes her his reluctant wife. Forget a honeymoon for "show" --- not with a vengeful ex-fiance on their trail and a hired gun on the loose. But there just might be hope for the marriage ... and two hearts meant for each other.
When I saw the synopsis for The Bridegroom I couldn't wait to start reading; romance, the promise of action, and the southern setting all made for a novel I was sure I was going to enjoy. However, even though I didn't really dislike this novel at all I sat down to write this review feeling like I didn't really have much to say. Sure it was entertaining, and yeah I liked it, but in the end it was a read and forget kind of novel, not one that sticks with you and makes you want to read more.
The biggest thing that makes this review hard to write is that even though The Bridegroom wasn't boring nothing really happened. Instead of one huge climax at the end with a bunch of smaller events leading up to it the novel was full of many small and insignificant events in the day to day lives of Gideon in Lydia. There was the conflict with Jacob Fitch, the man who was going to marry Lydia, but that whole plot line really fell flat and while it wasn't bad it definitely wasn't as good as it could have been.
There wasn't anything wrong with Gideon and Lydia, in fact their characters were probably the strongest part of the novel, but in the end there wasn't really anything all that memorable about them either. Gideon starts off working in the local mine hoping to find rumors of a strike and report them to the owners, however the more time he spends with the miners the more he realizes he can't continue with his plan; making me respect him just a little bit more. Lydia on the other hand has good intentions with her desire to take care of her aging aunts but she doesn't really grow in the novel, unless you count falling in love as growth.
One thing I can't stand in historical romances are weddings of necessity rather than love. I don't know why but this device is just so irritating and overused that even though everything always turns out all right in the end it still annoys me to death. In this novel I knew it was coming and instead of thinking about how much it rubs me the wrong way I decided to just go with it, and surprisingly enough Miller had a way of making Gideon and Lydia's marriage work instead of making me feel like the whole story was moving way to fast. Maybe it was the writing or maybe it was the change in my mindset but the romance in this novel was much better than I was expecting, maybe not memorable but more than I thought it would be.
Even though this novel wasn't bad it just didn't have the spark that would have made me really like it. The Bridegroom has all the elements to be really fantastic but it just didn't happen this time around. Die-hard fans of historical fiction may want to give this one a try but those looking to mix up their reading habits or try something new may want to skip this one in favor of something a little more memorable.