Tempting the Bride is the final volume in Sherry Thomas’ Fitzhugh trilogy (there are, however, two novellas and an erotic story, which are also part of it and none of which I have read yet). As I have pointed out in my post on the first volume of the trilogy, I consider her novels to be on the borderline between “deep” and “Wallpaper” historicals and Tempting the Bride is no exception from that.
Regarding my uncertainties pertaining to the novel as part of a trilogy which I had when reading Beguiling the Beauty, I have to say that they never got quite resolved – Tempting the Bride suffers from the symmetrical problem, i.e. a large part of the previous relationship between David and Helena was already spread out in the two previous problem, so it feels in parts like that is getting a bit of the short shrift here, in particular where Helena’s history with Andrew is concerned. And on the other hand, one really would have liked (well, this reader would have, in any case) to read more about how the couples from the two previous volumes are faring – they do make appearances here, but not nearly as much as Millie/Fitz and Helena/David did in the first volume, or Helena/David in the second, which means that by this third volume we’re back to the conventional model of recurring characters rather than the genuine trilogy as which this started out. Which is a bit of a pity.
I admit, I was frowning a lot about the amnesia at first – that’s about the most tired plot device ever and hardly ever works the way it is supposed to. This here proved to be one of the few exceptions however, and while I still am not exactly enthusiastic about it and think it’s more than a bit contrived, Sherry Thomas handled it quite well as a reboot of Helena’s and David’s relationship and also made a very nice point about how past experiences colour present perceptions. Bea was a nice touch, too, sweet but not cloying, and thinking back on the novel, I think it’s mostly the nice touches which made it enjoyable read – the plot is nothing to write home about, the characters okay but not really that fascinating, but it is the wealth of lovely details that made the most impression and will likely stick in memory – Hasting’s murals, the tiny stethoscope, Bea’s trunk and many others. In short, Tempting the Bride may not be Sherry Thomas’ best effort, but it’s a quite pleasurable read that kept me effortlessly entertained for several hours.