A haunted past, a marriage of convenience…a love for a lifetime? After a tragic accident leaves Loyal Redfearn alone and pregnant, she writes to her deceased fiance’s ne’er-do-well brother, August OiDell. Her hope is he’ll help save her beloved home. What she doesn’t expect from him is a proposal so soon on the heels of his brother’s death. Although they grew up together, she’s never thought of August as the man she would marry, even as a means to save face with her family and friends.
Although returning to the township where August spent his troubled youth means facing the past, he sees an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the woman he’s loved since boyhood. They agree the marriage is in
name-only, but August works to earn Loyal’s trust and waits for the day she’ll see his hard work as proof that she didn’t marry the wrong brother after all.
When evidence from a crime committed years ago points to August as the culprit, he and Loyal must face the reality that their newly forged family may be torn apart.
I will start off by saying historical romance is not my personal favorite genre but this book made me rethink my feelings. The Wrong Brother’s Bride was written in a way that made me forget the time era it was set in and captured my attention with characters that were not only interesting but connectable to the reader and two people I could invest my heart in. To see the struggles and secrets they held inside for a man they both loved was gut wrenching at
times, especially when the truth came out and they realized the time they had wasted protecting him.
Loyal Redfearn had to send the dreaded letter to August telling him that his brother was dying. She grew up as the pastor’s daughter but she had let her father down by deciding to marry Jeremiah O’Dell. When he was injured in
a farming accident she was faced with being alone and pregnant, shunned by her father and the small town she was living in. When August showed up she knew this was going to be difficult because he had run from his brother and
home town years ago and no one knew why he would leave, not to mention if coming back was long term or just to pay his respects.
August had grown up being known as a drunken man’s son. The sins of the father had been passed down to him and Jeremiah, but he didn’t want to deal with it and left for a fresh start. It also had to do with the fact he had fallen
in love with Loyal as a teenager but his brother had claimed her first. The pain of watching them together was too much to bear so he left. Now back he is confronted with the will of his deceased brother who left the farm to both he and Loyal and they are going to have to come to terms with how to keep Jeremiah’s dream alive and care for his unborn child.
August is faced with a town that still sees the hot tempered young boy that left, never giving him credit that he had grown up and became a respectable man who only wants to do what is right. His motives for every action being held under scrutiny, he is also having to deal with defending his now wife from the gossip of her getting pregnant before marriage.
We watch as they try to keep the farm going and productive and preparing to be a family now that they married so the child won’t be considered a bastard of the community. With her father coming back in the picture August is going to have to convince him of his pure love for Loyal. The biggest hurdle they have to overcome is finally admitting their hearts had belonged to each other years ago and that feeling and desire had never changed. Jeremiah the man
they were protecting was actually the one keeping them apart.
I love how the author took these fabulous characters and created many plots for each that they had to face head on. There were no loose ends in this story and we were able to see the love of August and Loyal come full circle. I found I was so happy at the end of the book to see both of them validated for their true feelings and the sacrifices they made for not only each other but for people who would use and abuse them in life. She gave us a story of redemption with August, how he was able to come back and face the judgments of the town and stand strong while showing them he was not his father, he was his own man. While I hate that those two lost so many years together I think the author wrote it in a way that made us see sometimes life takes us on strange paths to finally get us to the goal we had dreamed of achieving.
Loyal carried her lamp to the kitchen and retrieved the liniment bottle. Even if she had to treat him while he was asleep, she’d see to it that he felt like moving in the morning.
“August, are you still awake?”
He didn’t answer. She entered the room anyway. The lamp she carried cast shadows on the whitewashed walls. He stretched across the bed, so tall he almost touched the head and footboards. A light sheet draped from his waist to his feet, and judging from the clothes scattered on the floor, he wasn’t wearing a stitch. Loyal froze. She shouldn’t
invade his privacy this way, not even with the intention of helping ease his soreness.
His eyes opened and he offered her a crooked smile. “An angel has come to put me out of my misery.”
She laughed, because his tone was teasing. “I didn’t think you believed in angels.”
“Even sinners might get relief from an angel. Looks like you’re determined to stink up the room with horse ointment again.”
“If you don’t want my help, I’ll go to bed.” She shook the bottle because they both knew she wouldn’t leave. “Where do you hurt the worst?”
“You point to a spot, it hurts.” He pushed himself onto his elbows. “I’m not decent, Loyal. It’s alright if you
want to go.”
She couldn’t look away from the play of muscles in his arms and chest. “Stop being noble. This won’t take long
and you’ll be asleep before you know it.”
It shouldn’t have sent a thrill through her to touch him. Their agreement to keep things friendly meant she should
leave the ointment with him and return to her room. Hard muscles fairly begged her to run her fingers across them and ease his pain. What could it hurt? He worked hard providing for her and his niece or nephew.
August relaxed against the sheets, closing his eyes. “After I get the new crop planted, I can start working on a
cradle for the baby.”
Loyal’s knees weakened and she sat on the edge of the bed harder than she’d intended. He looked at her questioningly. “That’s…that would be fine.”
As an infant, she’d slept in a drawer. She wasn’t above doing the same for her own child. It hadn’t occurred
to her that August might want to build furniture for her little one. She drew in a breath. “You’d do that?”
“If you like. I wasn’t sure if you had a hand-me-down, or plans for something else.”
She shook her head. “I’d like it if you would.”
“Consider it done.”
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.
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