Mrs. Julien’s #CRB5 Review #54: The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway

This review is putting me in the unusual position of recommending The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway, even though it wasn’t really my cup of tea. My historical romance obsession still has me in its talons, no movement there, but the novel wasn’t a one in a style I enjoy which, I must emphatically note, comes with the addendum “…because I am boring.” I don’t like a lot of subplot in my romances and while this book’s subplots do not runneth over, they didn’t exactly runneth under either. It’s a romantic adventure, as opposed to the romantic romance I generally prefer. If you are looking for a cleverly written historical romance that doubles as a fun romp, this could very well be the book for you.

The Other Guy’s Bride is set in the golden age of unmitigated gall, theft, pillaging, cultural appropriation Egyptology and this features heavily in the sub-plotting.  Seven years before the story proper started, a jilted Jim Owen ran off to join the Foreign Legion and ended up a dead man in Egypt. Just months from making his grandmother happy by being officially declared dead, a young woman comes into his life to turn everything upside down. Owing a debt of honour to her fiancé, Jim agrees to escort Mildred Whimpelhall across the desert to said fiance at a remote outpost. Hijinks ensue, not the least of which is the fact that Mildred is actually Jinesse Braxton, the accident-prone daughter of a family of renowned archeologists.

Determined to make a name for herself in Egyptology, Jinesse stole Mildred’s identity and is taking advantage of Jim’s escort to get her to the dig of her dreams. By proving the existence of a heretofore  apocryphal city, Jinesse hopes to establish her archeological bona fides. Jim is instantly attracted to “Mildred” and stunned that this vivacious, bright, and amazingly sanguine inexperienced desert traveler could be interested in her waiting prosaic fiancé, particularly as she doesn’t seem to know his first name. “Mildred” is the type of person to whom things happen, scrapes, escapades, freak weather patterns, and Jim is there to step in and to support her as necessary. The relationship that develops between Jinesse and Jim, the well-intentioned funny woman who falls down and the affable, unflappable rogue, is charming and often wry.

The Other Guy’s Bride is quite campy and an enjoyable adventure. Connie Brockway’s writing style is entertaining and droll. I would have liked a little more [insert funky bass line here] and a little less romp, especially since the consummation devoutly to be wished took place (SPOILER) in a cave during a sandstorm when there should have been sand in every nook and cranny of the cave, of the hero, and of the heroine.

Thank you to rochelle for loaning me this book even if Connie Brockway did not make her way onto my library list.  rochelle also loaned me a book by Carla Kelly that I enjoyed very much indeed despite a complete lack of [insert funky bass line here].

The (Shameful) Tally 2013

This review is also posted on my tiny little blog.

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3 thoughts on “Mrs. Julien’s #CRB5 Review #54: The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway

  1. I think the whole problem of privileged people on adventures is why I was able to remove myself from the clutches of historical romance. I’ll bet it was really exciting and romantic for the Europeans who got to visit other countries and steal their heritage. And it does create an exotic setting where the gender norms can be bent for a romance. But the setting and time period also create a problem for the modern writer and reader. That kind of rascism just isn’t acceptable, so the writer has to contort themself to make the good guys less rascist and sexist. It starts feeling contrived. And after reading a few hundred of them, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Connie Brockway’s writing is at least entertaining enough that I could glide over a lot of my complaints. It was really Stephanie Lauren’s and her servants/lower classes being loyal to their “rightful masters” that broke me. Fuck that shit! Let’s storm the Bastille!

    On a side note, a former lover and I tried some [insert funky base line here] in a natural and romantic setting. We didn’t get far as the romantic wind kept blowing the natural elements into our faces thus chilling our passions. Of course, we hadn’t pined for each other across a desert. Just across dessert.

    • Hee hee, dessert.

      I just don’t require a grand adventure and having to reconnoiter all the unpleasant either realistic or unrealistic story elements is something I avoid. I want bantering and kissing and being true to the emotional life of the characters. Is that so much to ask? Apparently, yes.

      When I was beginning my current obsession, I read, like, 1.5 – 2.25 Stephanie Lauren books before giving up on her. The ridiculous 30 page love scenes broke me. I found Julia Quinn shortly thereafter and then, God bless her, Lisa Kleypas Queen of all Romance.

      • Writing something that’s true to the emotional life of the characters is so hard y’all!

        The books that stay away from the messier aspects of the socio/political landscape of the historic era are easier to read. But I also like adventure. And Stephanie Laurens is just the worst.

        I tracked down my old copies of Elizabeth Stuart, no ereader versions available. I’ll be putting up reviews of those soon.

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