Bride by Proxy


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
178 Pages
Reviewed on 07/08/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Bride by Proxy by Lori Power takes us all the way back to 1798 where Captain Garrett McGuire is sailing the seas of the Caribbean and the newly minted United States of America, building a shipping dynasty for his father back in England. His father reminds him that it is time to fulfill the wishes of his late mother and marry their neighbor’s daughter, Beverly, to whom he was promised as a child, and unite two great families. Garrett’s problem is that even as a child he was not drawn to the girlish Beverly and in fact was much more comfortable with Beverly’s younger sister Anne. What will these two young girls have grown into as women? The only way to be sure was for Garrett to return to England and fulfill his duty and promise to his late mother. Compounding the issue is the fact that Beverly has a suitor, despite already being promised to Garrett. It doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that he has no romantic feelings for Beverly but his friendship and attraction to Anne is still as strong as it was when they were children. What was Garrett to do? Was there some way to break the contract without losing face for either family? Could Garrett just swap one daughter for the other in the contract and solve the problem that way?

Bride by Proxy is a fun, easy read that brings the manners and style of the Regency period in England to the fore. Author Lori Power is putting together a very readable series that merges the rough and readiness of life at sea and on the New World frontier with the gentility and manners of the aristocracy of the period. I particularly enjoyed the character of Anne, a strong, self-possessed young woman who refused to accept the concept that as the second daughter, she was ornamentation rather than useful. Her willingness to involve herself in the healing arts will bode well for future adventures with Captain McGuire. It was a pleasure to see her break out of the gentility imposed on women of the period and to stand up for herself with her father. It took a special breed to take to the seas in those early days and build a trading enterprise and both the lead characters have exactly what it takes to achieve this. This is the second tale of Captain McGuire that I have read and I am invested in his adventures now and in future narratives. Relatively short, this excellent novel can definitely be read in one sitting. I think most readers will do just that, finding it impossible to put down. I can highly recommend this read.

Jennifer Ibiam

Captain Garrett McGuire loved the sea as it was his place of peace. He had expanded his family’s business interests to his father’s satisfaction. However, he’d have to leave soon when his father summoned him to honor a marriage contract. The contract stated that he would marry Beverly MacLeod, the daughter of their lifelong neighbor. This move would merge the very wealthy McGuires with the titled MacLeods. Their mothers, both late, were good friends and had drafted the deed when Garret and Beverly were children. Unfortunately, as grown adults, those children were now attracted to other people. How will they get out of this marriage contract without tearing their families apart? Will they resign themselves to a marriage of convenience? Bride by Proxy by Lori Power presents an unpredictable twist.

Bride by Proxy by Lori Power is an interesting historical novel that will appeal to lovers of romance. It took me back to a time when women had no say about their lives, subjecting them to subdued lifestyles. It was refreshing to see the graceful Beverly and feisty Anne make their cases. I loved the plot as it prioritized love and gave women the voices to do and be. The character development was beautiful and realistic. I enjoyed the proper language usage and tonality, which were appropriate to the era in which Lori set the story. Lori threw the ball into an unexpected corner with Henry and Anne, which brought some sparks to this laid-back story. The heart wants what it wants! This is a beautiful story, and Lori should give us more.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Bride by Proxy is Lori Power's second book in the McGuire series, as we see the next generation of McGuires come to grips with a marriage contract drawn up when he was a child. Garrett McGuire has been away for years learning the family shipping business. Now his father insists he comes home and fulfills the contract. Beverly MacLeod knew she was promised to Garrett, but his absence allowed her to forget the promise and grow close to another. Anne MacLeod is determined never to marry since the only man she wants is promised to her sister. Garrett realizes the contract is for the wrong sister. Can he find a solution that will release him and Beverly from an unwanted marriage?

I found Bride by Proxy drew me in with the first chapter as Garrett reminisces about "his Bessy" and the fascination he held for her even as a boy. Lori Power weaves an intricate story around honoring deceased parents' wishes, mistaken intentions, and forged love. The story rotates between Garrett and Anne as we see how misunderstandings can lead to mistakes. The author keeps the reader guessing as Anne's pride often gets in the way of her happiness. This novel would be classified as a sweet novel with unexpected circumstances and colorful language, but not from the sailor as assumed. The author takes a different stance with her characters as they don't fit the usual British nobles during the Napoleonic Era, adding a fascinating twist. Bride by Proxy is a completely gratifying escape.

Stephanie Chapman

In Lori Power's Bride By Proxy, nobody acknowledges Anne McLeod. Growing up, she often ran with her brother Brian and Garrett McGuire while her sister Beverly stayed behind. Beverly is aware of a contract promising a daughter to marry Garrett McGuire. Upon reaching adulthood, Garrett knows it is time for him to stop his sea travels and settle down. He honors the contract but he dislikes Beverly. In the meantime, Anne has not forgotten him and secretly covets his affection. When Henry Rathbone asks for Beverly's hand in marriage, their father offers Anne as a substitute. Anne doesn't want to be a second choice bride and Beverly doesn't want to be with Garrett since she loves Henry.

I found Bride by Proxy to be an adventurous romance novel. Lori Power writes the story with possibilities that can occur. Anne's description is of being shy as a child and Beverly as a mother hen to her younger sister. Garrett is a free spirit, in love with the sea. I was able to connect with Anne's wish to be valued based on her own merits. Following in an older sister's footsteps and trying to feign actions that are not in your nature would drive me crazy. I found the pleasantries to be tedious and intentional as Garrett addressed Gerald McLeod. I found myself laughing at Anne's disgust at Henry Rathbone. When at a ball, she acted as though his smell was offensive, and he noticed her disdain. I loved how a frustrated Anne took a club to a tree. Garrett states she would have to pay him back for the tree on his land. She was quick to point out that it was her land, only to be rebuffed by his acknowledgment of the marriage contract. I recommend Bride by Proxy to anyone that likes a fun romance. These sisters' antics will be sure to entertain.

Lisa McCombs

Fiery redhead Anne Elizabeth Macleod is a loving, devoted sister, yet as different as different can be to her refined, beautiful sister. While Beverly is anxious to accept her future as a willing wife of stature, Anne prefers her ventures into the woods among the flowers and medicinal plants. When Beverly’s intended returns from his sea travels, their marriage will be announced, fulfilling her dreams. If only her heart belonged to Garrett McGuire, the only man her sister would ever consider for her own match. While Anne is challenged with accepting the love of her life not as a husband but as a brother-in-law, Beverly struggles with a heavy heart she is emotionally given to another man. As Anne and Garrett fight to accept their fate, that very fate interrupts their father’s plans in a surprising turn of events.

Bride by Proxy, McGuire Series Book Two by Lori Power is a delightful period romance that leaves me with a smile and a heart full of thanks for stumbling across this gem. Author Lori Power brings this story to life with timeless descriptions. Such phrases as “button-like eyes crinkled with mirth” and “seeming to talk for the sake of chatter rather than having anything meaningful to contribute” weave themselves throughout the story as gifts to the reader. Set near the sea, Bride by Proxy embraces the romance of wealth and social status. The dialogue resonates with the time period of the 1700s while reflecting the romantic notion of a tumultuous love affair. Just when I thought the story was over, Lori Power throws a bone at the conclusion with an excerpt from book three of the McGuire series.