So far, the only thing that Jillian Hutner's new “Bridal Pleasure” series seems to have in common is that the Boscastle family makes an appearance in both books. A Bride Unveiled is a fully stand-alone novel from her previous book, and while I enjoyed it, it didn't enchant me as her previous book did.
Violet Knowlton and Kit Fenton meet one summer during Violet's thirteenth year. She had always considered herself an obedient girl following the dictates of her aunt and uncle but, this particular summer she meets a very unsuitable boy.
Kit is nearing his fifteenth year and knows that his time in the tiny village of Monk's Huntley is almost over. Kit is an orphan and lives in the parish workhouse. Kit is allowed outside the walls for a few hours each week where he escapes from his work to play at sword fighting.
Kit is befriended by Violet and two other boys. Kit teaches the boys to fight while Violet watches. That friendship allows Kit to dream of something beyond the workhouse, while Violet learns that the world is far harsher than her aunt and uncle have allowed her to see. Their summer encounters changes all of their lives, and gives Kit hope after he has been sold like the other boys in the workhouse.
It has been ten years since that summer in Monk's Huntley and Kit is now Master Fenton, maitre d'armes, with a very prosperous sword fighting academy. His life has turned out far better than he dreamed it could have after he left the workhouse. Sold to a cavalry captain as an apprentice, the man adopted him and sponsored him to become a master of the craft.
Kit is preparing for a performance at the Marquess of Sedgecroft's annual ball when he and Violet find one another again. Unfortunately, Violet is recently engaged to one of his pupils, a successful merchant. Neither Violet nor Kit can deny their feelings for one another and, without intending it, their adolescent feelings bloom into love.
I enjoyed reading Violet and Kit's love story; it was drawn very well. Violet became engaged to her merchant, though she didn't love him, at the behest of her ailing aunt. Godfrey isn't a bad man he is just a bit selfish. He wants to rise into higher circles than he can as a merchant and as the niece of a baron, Violet is his ticket. Violet's main concern is the health of her aunt, which is already fragile and she doesn't want the knowledge of her time with Kit to make her aunt even more so. It isn't until her aunt reveals a few surprising facts of her own that Violet grabs at her own chance for happiness.
Ms. Hunter gives readers a poignant love story between Kit and Violet, while throwing in a dash of danger and mystery in the form of one of Kit's pupils. Readers learn early on that this character has a grudge against Kit and is using a false identity to get close to him. After the mystery surrounding this character, I was expecting a big showdown between the two of them. Unfortunately, the danger to Kit's identity and his life seemed to be wrapped up too easily.
A Bride Unveiled is much more angst-filled than her previous book. All in all though, it was an enjoyable read and, as always, I look forward to Ms. Hunter's next book.
Reviewed by: Valarie Pelissero