The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter

Note from Anne – this is the first romance novel I owned, the one that started me on my love affair with romance.  It hasn’t stood the test of time, though.  Back in the day, I reread this countless times.  I set romance aside for a few years and when I got back into it, I didn’t care for this one any more.  I actually ended up giving it away, because it made me feel yucky.  Kudos to Kate for taking on the challenge of reading My First Romance Novel.

Grade – C-
Hotness Level – Blaze
Kink Level – None

Series – Bride Series  #1
Reviewed by Kate

Douglas, Earl of Northcliffe, needs a bride and an heir to get his family off his back.  Due to a scheduling conflict, he sends his cousin, Tony, to wed the beautiful Melissande by proxy.  Unfortunately for Douglas, Tony and Melissande fall madly in love and elope.  Not wanting to return to Douglas empty handed, Tony makes the choice to proxy-marry Melissande’s younger sister, Alexandra, to Douglas instead — without informing him.

Douglas spends most of the book telling Alexandra he wishes she were her sister.  Alexandra, who has secretly loved Douglas for the last 3 years, spends the book alternating between planning ways to make Douglas love her and trying to run away.

While Douglas The Ass and Wishy-Washy Alexandra are the main characters, Tony and Melissande’s relationship is also a focal point — a disturbing focal point. Melissande, being beautiful, is very self-centered. Tony, being her husband, must train her to be a better person. This takes the form of “I’m your husband, you must do as say,” but left me feeling almost dirty. It came off as belittling, embarrassing, and degrading.

The repeated references to Alexandra’s spine being strapped to a broom handle and Douglas’s continued use of “tell me you understand” got tedious. A sub-plot involving a kidnapped mistress leading to Alexandra being kidnapped herself added another layer of weirdness to the story.

All in all, I’m glad I didn’t waste money on this one.

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