The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie | Chance Sisters #4
Publication Date: July 5th, 2016
| Book Review |
The Summer Bride brings about the conclusion of Anne Gracie’s Chance Sisters series. This series, about four women who become ‘sisters of the heart,’ has been a fun ride. Book four brings us Daisy’s story, and if there was one misfit among the women, it would be Daisy. Born in the gutter and raised in a brothel, Daisy didn’t have the sort of ‘proper’ upbringing the other young women had. But Daisy has worked tooth and nail to claw her way out of the gutter, and she is determined to build a life for herself, by herself, that will prevent her from ever having to go back.
Once again, in her own blunt way, Daisy is the voice of reason. For Flynn, this time, as he embarks on a quest to find the finest lady in all of London and make her his wife. I do love this turn of events, because Daisy has never been, nor does she have an interest in being, a member of the ton. But for some reason, Daisy is the one the other’s seem to turn to for advice, and she always shares her thoughts magnificently and logically.
I love the idea of Daisy and Flynn together. They’re both eccentric by ton standards, and neither have any interest in conforming. There really hasn’t been a lot of banter in this series; it’s mostly been couples getting to know each other. But for Flynn and Daisy, it couldn’t have gone any other way. It was banter galore. And for a while, it was spectacular. Flynn, charming and happy-go-lucky as he was, was, by far, the highlight of this book for me. I love how he knew what he wanted and who he was, and how he was unapologetic about it. I loved Flynn’s memories of his family and how much he cherished them. He was a man who was rough around the edges, but soft where it mattered. Flynn was such a kind man with a heart of gold. And I love the scenes where Flynn would get all ‘Flynny’ and be simultaneously outraged and tendered. I adored this man. I also liked how, at first, their relationship was almost afterthought for both of them. I think too much examination would have been a barrier between them, but they were so cavalier about it that it was able to move forward.
Unfortunately, there came a point when it all came to be too much. And that when the book hit 75%. Daisy’s excuses for not wanting to marry Flynn started fall thin for me. I just didn’t feel like I understood the depth of her unwillingness to trust him. And to top that off, there were a few twists near the end of the story that pulled both of them out of character. They were enough to make me lost some of the love I had for the characters, and I was just never able to find it again.
So, as Daisy and Flynn’s story, this didn’t work for me, but as a series closer, there were some things I was able to appreciate. Lady Beatrice has been one of the highlights for the series for me, and this holds true in The Summer Bride, as well. While Daisy may have been the voice of reason to the other women, Lady Beatrice was the voice of reason for her, and she presented things to Daisy as bluntly as she could, and I was glad for that. It was clear Daisy was lacking direction in some areas of her life, and she needed Lady Beatrice to lay it all out for her. And while Lady Beatrice has given these girls a new lease on life, they’ve also returned the favor, and it warms my heart to know that all of her dreams have come true, in large part to Daisy. I love how protective Featherby and William have been throughout this ride – a couple of castaways that the girls brought with them to Lady Beatrice’s, and men who would fight to the death for any one of them. I love the family this group has found in each other.
If you have read this series from the get-go, then of course you want to be there for Daisy’s story and to see how things wrap up, but if you’re reading this as a stand-alone, it just doesn’t feel that strong. While you might not have to read this series in order, I do think doing so will give you a greater love and appreciation for the characters. And for me, the bookends of this series have been the weakest. The heart and meat of this series are in books 3 and 4. Overall, I have enjoyed the Chance Sisters series, and I cannot wait to read more from this author!
Narration: As with the previous books in this series, this one was narrated by Alison Larkin and she did a spectacular job with both Daisy’s cockney accent and Flynn’s Irish one. If you’re an audio listener, there is a lot of enjoyment to be had from listening to this series.
| Rating |
Series: Chance Sisters
~ snippets I loved ~
“…I don’t want to be a lady! I want to be a dressmaker—and not just any dressmaker. I aim to become the most fashionable modiste in London—fashion to the top nobs.”
The old lady shrugged. “No reason why you can’t be a modiste and a lady.”
Daisy stared at the old lady incredulously. “You don’t have no idea, do you? What it’s gunna take—”
“Any idea. It’s any idea.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. “Work, that’s what it takes—hard work, never-endin’ work. I’m workin’ every hour God sends as it is, and even so I’m barely managin’. There ain’t no time for me to prance around pretendin’ to be a lady!”
“You are a lady!”
Daisy snorted, and Lady Beatrice went on, “Your entire nature declares it. Inside, you are a lady, Daisy—loyal, loving, honest, sensitive to others’ needs—all we have to do is teach you to be ladylike on the outside as well!”
“Finding you’ve aimed rather too high, have you? I did warn you. A lowborn, uneducated sea captain, Irish—and Roman Catholic to boot!” She shook her head.
“Lapsed, m’lady, and though all you say is true, I don’t believe I’m aimin’ too high,” Flynn said mildly. He was comfortable in his own skin and knew his own worth. “I’m also rich—a self-made man with a fleet of ships and a tradin’ empire that spreads from here to the four corners of the earth.”
Lady Beatrice sniffed. “Money acquired in trade.”
Flynn grinned, undeceived by her disparaging tone. “Aye, m’lady, lots of nasty vulgar money at me disposal which the poor lass who consents to become me wife will have to help me spend. ’Twill be a terrible burden for her, I’m thinkin’.”
What did he know about Lady Elizabeth herself, apart from the polite public face she showed him?
And was he really so shallow, choosing a wife solely on appearance and pedigree? There was more to his choice than that, he was sure, but he was forced to concede that there was some truth in Daisy’s accusation.
It wasn’t as if he thought members of the aristocracy were any better than ordinary folks. He didn’t care the snap of his fingers for other people’s opinions of him. It was just . . . Daisy’s words came back to him.
Marrying this earl’s daughter will give you consequence.
And why shouldn’t he have consequence? Hadn’t he earned it?
It wasn’t snobbery. He’d made his fortune by seeking out the best of everything—he had an eye for quality, he liked fine things, and he saw no reason why that approach wouldn’t work just as well in selecting a wife.
He was starting his search for a wife all over again.
He leaned against a doorway and surveyed the throng of pretty damsels with a jaundiced eye. The whole Lady Elizabeth experience had made him more than a touch cynical.
One of these young ladies might one day become his wife. The thought no longer delighted him quite the way it once had.
Polite society . . . He snorted. The politeness was about as thin as a layer of silk. Deception was more like it.
They smiled, they flirted, they welcomed, but it was his money they wanted, not Flynn. Him they would tolerate, or try to. Behind those smiles was often a layer of hidden contempt for his blunt ways, his battered hands, his history.
He’d always known that his fortune was what would make him acceptable, but now he was more aware of the subtle arrogance of aristocratic superiority—bred in blood and bone, and he didn’t much like it.
“Oy! Listen, you great Irish lummox—I mean it when I say that it’s not going to happen again, all right? From now on, you don’t touch me. You don’t kiss me, you don’t pick me up or, or stroke my cheek—I said stop it!” she snapped, dodging back and swatting at his hand as he stroked her cheek with a thick Irish finger. “None of that lovey-dovey stuff—you know what I mean.”
He grinned, a flash of white teeth. “What ‘lovey-dovey stuff’—you’ll have to be more specific. Give me an example, a demonstration perhaps.” The big rat was enjoying this.
“You know exactly what I mean.” She poked him in the chest. “Just behave yourself, all right.” He quirked a brow at her.
“Or . . .” She cast around for inspiration. “Or I’ll push you down the stairs.”
He spread his arms wide in invitation. “You can do whatever you want with me, Daisy darlin’. I’m all yours.”
The business might send her broke, but it wouldn’t break her heart. Only people could do that.
She kissed him open-mouthed, enticing, teasing, lavishing him with the kind of generosity that characterized her spirit—she was all or nothing, his Daisy. Loving or fighting, she threw herself into it whole-heartedly.
His parents’ love had been the bedrock of his childhood. So often he’d woken in the night, a bad dream perhaps, or some more real worry—they were desperate times. He’d lie in the bed he shared with his little brothers, listening to the soft murmur of voices as his parents talked over the day, made plans for the morrow. He couldn’t make out the words, but the soft exchange in the darkness soothed him and lulled him back to sleep. They might talk of everyday things, but he could feel the love between them.
That was the kind of marriage he wanted; companionship and love and mutual support. Partners in life, no matter what life brought them.
“Something botherin’ you, sweetheart? I thought you liked flowers.”
“Don’t call me that! I’m not your sweetheart!”
“Something botherin’ you, my little hedgehog?”
He was a man who understood the long game, and he relished a challenge.