Eight years ago, Lieutentant Luke Ripton made a hasty wartime marriage-in-name-only to protect a young girl from a forced union and left her protected in a remote mountain convent. Now, Luke is Lord Ripton, but he has been unable to obtain an annullment. Which leaves him no choice but to claim a wife he doesn't want.
For nearly a decade, Isabella has waited like a princess locked in a tower, dreaming of her handsome, dark-haired prince. Her dreams are shattered when Luke reveals himself not as a prince, but an autocratic soldier, expecting her unquestioning obedience, which is something Isabella's fiercely independent nature will not tolerate.
And while Luke and Isabella's fiery personalities clash at every turn, they remain bound to their vows, never expecting that the passionate fury they share could become passion of a different kind.
And here is Nita's review:
I do enjoy a romance with a hero and heroine that marry, for whatever reason, and then are almost immediately separated, again for whatever reason, for many years. If they barely know each other when they marry, the better. The heroine is usually left at the country estate while the hero is off at war or making his fortune in some exotic locale or drowning his sorrows with drink and sin in London. Always when the hero makes his way to reunite with his wife he pictures her docile and sewing. She never is, though. Bride by Mistake is one of those stories.
Luke and Isabella married eight years before when he was 19 and she was 13. Luke was in Spain fighting in the war as a lieutenant. Luke comes across Isabella as she is about to be raped. He saves her and then marries her after he finds out her awful cousin, wanting her fortune, would force her to marry him. He promptly leaves her at a Spanish convent,continues to fight in the war, and then heads home to England when the war ends. Eight years later, after his request for an annulment is denied, he decides he better go fetch his wife since they are stuck in marriage together.
I really liked Isabella. She's honest (mostly) and expresses her feelings. She is angry and humiliated when she finds out Luke tried for an annulment and lets him know it. And throughout the book, she lets him know when she thinks he is treating her like crap and how she really feels. I didn't, though, find her whiny or obtrusive.
Luke is not as straightforward with his feelings. He hasn't told anyone, family or friends, what truly happened to him during the war. He's all for hiding those feelings deep inside himself, which has left him cold and reserved. They are complete opposites in how they express their feelings. It takes some maneuvering and uncomfortableness for them to really get to know each other. But I still felt like they talked and listened to each other in most things. Isabella is really consistent in her way of getting Luke to open up about his secret. But ultimately it's a confession of her own that really gets Luke to open up. I thought it was beautifully done.
I loved the fact that, even though our hero is English and that they will be living in England, the book mostly takes place in Spain. The book easily could have been about the two dealing with their relationship in England as Isabella also dealt with being a foreigner in English society. Instead the two deal with their relationship in Spain as Isabella also comes to terms with her own actions eight years before and what is left of her family. It did make the ending in England feel a bit rushed and easy, but the story, for me, still felt complete.
There was one scene that really didn't work for me. It felt too coincidental and dramatic (in a bad way). And it led to a silly conclusion to Luke's tragedy, I thought. But overall this book was a definite winner for me.