I previously read Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines. So when I wanted to read something light I chose The Earl’s Mistaken Bride . I found the title interesting. However, the mystery of the title is solved in the first few pages.
Marcus made a bargain with God. He would marry a good Christian bride, thus making his mother happy. In return, God will make his mother better, who lies on her deathbed.
To fulfil his end of the bargain, Marcus visits Reverend Somerton. On his way there, he stumbles upon a great beauty who introduces herself as Constance Somerton, Reverend’s daughter. He later asks Reverend for Constance’s hand in marriage. Reverend grants his wish and the wedding takes place soon. However, after the wedding Marcus realises he married the wrong sister. The great beauty he saw earlier had been Constance’s sister Amanda. He feels betrayed for being wedded to the ‘ugly duckling’ .
Constance had no idea of her sister’s trickery. She is married to the man whom she has been in love with, since she was in her teens . But she is very much aware of his hatred and contempt for her. Totally disheartened due to the events, she chooses to give the marriage her best efforts to make it work.
And like every romance novel, the hero realises his mistakes and they live happy after.
Now, here’s what I felt:
I honestly admired Constance’s spirit. And I hated Marcus. I actually found him a cold brick. It seems justifiable when he treated Constance badly when he felt she tricked him. But that was not the end.
He went on to behave in a manner that completely outlined the fact that he was embarrassed at the fact that his wife is plain. Constance might be plain-looking but she did possess a brain. He avoided taking her out so that she would never malign his family’s name by making a fool of herself.
Not only that, he disrespected her views and belittled her feelings . He kept his prestige above everything. He never appreciated her in public, rather he chose to distance himself. Constance on the other hand called Marcus on his bullshit and challenged him for his love bluntly. When she saw something in his character that she did not appreciate, she had the guts to call him on it. When she realised that she might have treated Marcus too harshly for his flaws, she tried to make amends. Marcus hardly shows any repentance. Him, I found a coward.
I found her honest in her feelings and views; Marcus was vain and selfish.
Later, it is Marcus himself who drives his wife away. Though it is portrayed that he came to his senses, I honestly felt it was selfishness on his part. It seemed that he finally realised Constance was his only avenue to happiness. His character does not allow you to do anything else apart from sympathising, and that does not happen much either. His grand gestures made his lady’s heart melt but I found them too little too late.
There is another short story moving alongside Marcus’s. This happens between Marcus’s butler and Constance’s maid. Both of them share similar cycles of love and misery like their employers. This leads to a camaraderie that helps in development of the story. And it is a sweet story in itself.
Overall, though the addition of the short story was good, I felt Marcus’s character did not redeem itself in sufficient capacity. This left the story somewhat incomplete with its happy ending.