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.