Michelle's Review: Confessions of an Improper Bride by Jennifer Haymore

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Mass Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: August 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780446573146
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Donovan Sisters #1

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Serena Donovan left London six years ago, her heart broken and her reputation ruined by devilishly handsome Jonathan Dane. Now, with her family's future in peril, she reluctantly agrees to return to England and assume her late twin's identity. The price? Marry a man she doesn't love and spend the rest of her days living a lie.
Jonathan Dane, Earl of Stratford, has become an incorrigible rake, drinking, gambling-and trying to forget Serena Donovan. Yet the moment he's introduced to the prim and proper "Meg", he recognizes the sensual young woman who captured his heart. Haunted by his past mistakes, he refuses to lose Serena again. But convincing her to trust him is no easy task. Claiming his lost love means exposing the truth and destroying the life Serena has sacrificed everything to rebuild. With the future of all the Donovans at stake, and their undying passion capable of triggering yet another scandal, how much will Jonathan and Serena risk for a chance at true love?

Michelle's Review:
Serena was the impulsive, reckless twin as opposed to the good, self-possessed Meg. Her passionate nature caused her and Meg's London season cut short after she was found in a very compromising position with Jonathan Dane. With Serena's reputation in tatters, she and Meg were put on a ship back to Antigua. Six years later, she was forced to travel back to London by her mother to assume the identity of her twin sister Meg, who had died at sea, in order for Serena to wed Captain Langley, Meg's rich beau. She blamed her wickedness for her and her sister's ruined future and has resigned herself to spending the rest of her life living a lie so that once she marries she can help her younger sisters have their own season in London. But when she met Jonathan again, she couldn't stop thinking about him, their young love and the way he turned his back on her and left her heartbroken and betrayed. Jonathan himself had never forgotten about Serena and was ashamed of how he turned his back on the woman he loved. He saw right through Serena's pretense and he knew he couldn't loose her again. But she was betrothed to his best friend and he knew she doesn't trust him after what he did to her six years ago. If Jonathan claimed her as Serena, it meant hurting Langley (who was his best friend), revealing her deception to society and subjecting her to an even bigger scandal.

I felt sorry for Serena and Jonathan--they are caught in a tangled web of a scheming mama, past mistakes and betrayals, hurt, guilt and shame. I was very curious how they will untangle themselves and have their happily ever after. I wasn't able to connect with Serena's character as much as I did Jonathan's. Yes, Serena pretended to be Meg for the good of her family and yes, the man she loved turned his back on her and couldn't forgive him but I couldn't quite empathize with what she was going through, she was just too much at times. Jonathan, on the other hand, truly redeemed himself--while he did some unforgivable things but he realized his past mistakes and did everything he can not to hurt Serena and her family again, to help her in any way he can, to make her his again.

There was a secondary story about Serena's sister Phoebe, who I thought was a brat and was annoyed by her character for most of the book. Phoebe's romance took way from Serena and Jonathan's own story but it ended in a way I wasn't expecting so I was pleasantly surprised. I wish there was an epilogue because the story ended sort of abruptly but since it's the first book in the series, I'm sure we'll see Serena and Jonathan again in the next books to see how they're doing. I'd also like to see Captain Langley again--the poor guy deserves his own happily ever after. I like the author's writing style and this being the second book I've read by Jennifer Haymore, I have to say she can definitely pen a romance that will keep you guessing how the hero and heroine will achieve their HEA. Confessions of an Improper Bride was a good read with a few surprising twists. It's a great start to the series. 3.75 out of 5 stars

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