I have been struggling to find a historical romance author who can compete with Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn for my affections. So far, the search hasn't yielded fruit, and Karia Darcy's The American Bride gets to join the pile of discarded hopes and dreams. As far as historical romances go, this one was just bland. The writing was stiff, very tell-y, and the witty banter that usually makes historical romance novels a fun read was pretty much entirely lacking. The love interest, Julian, was stiff, cold, and uncaring, and honestly I can't see how Cara fell in love with a total asshole like him. He does soften up--but only after Cara is in love with him, and he returns to being a complete ass to her not too long after. Also, I'm not sure how Cara and her grandmother decided on such a hare-brained scheme to get Cara acquainted with Julian, anyway. This probably would have been a more interesting story if Cara had just showed up as Julian's arranged bride and the two had been forced to work things out.
Additionally, there was some...weird stuff going on in this one. It's repeatedly stated that Julian's father arranged the marriage, and yet his father appears to have been dead for some time, so I can only assume the marriage was arranged from beyond the grave. And as for the relationship...well, on Cara's end, it doesn't make sense, as mentioned above. On Julian's end, it's just creepy. He apparently views Cara as a child with boobs, given the numerous times he refers to her as a child, girl, etc. both in and out of dialogue. However, he apparently has no qualms about entering a physical relationship with her and perhaps even keeping her as a mistress. All together, that's just creepy. Cara's interactions with her charges, Richard and Belin, were amusing, but I'm forced to think that she was a completely awful governess. I mean, yeah, she helped the kids come out of their shells, but it's not a governess' job to play Indians in the woods or give swimming lessons. Lessons of the type a governess should have been giving (and ones Cara insisted she was more than qualified to give) were completely lacking. And with the way she acted, Julian should have booted her off the estate within a matter of days.
Overall, this one just didn't make any sense to me, and with the awkward, stiff writing (filled with an abundance of misplaced commas) it was just dull and finishing it felt more like a chore than a treat.
2 stars out of 5.