Always the Widow (Never the Bride #9)

Emily EK

Since her husband revealed himself to be a controlling monster, a disillusioned Elizabeth Howard has been trapped in a terrible marriage. When his gambling debts lead to her acquaintance with a gentleman, she shocks herself by engaging in a one-night affair with him and knows she can never repeat it. When her husband dies a week later, Elizabeth yearns for the freedom of widowhood and to finally have a child, even knowing it cannot be her husband’s. When Jacob Beauvale, Earl of Westray, sees a pregnant Elizabeth just minutes after his proposal to another woman, he knows he’s made a mistake and he’s certain Elizabeth’s baby is his. He spends as much time with Elizabeth as he can but doesn’t break off his engagement, with neither Elizabeth nor Jacob able to see a way they can have a future together.

The plot devices used here are unique and not often seen in conjunction, giving it a promising start. Unfortunately, this set up was let down by flat characters and unnecessary dramatics. Though the main characters spend a great deal of time together, their relationship never seems to develop much, and this perception is not helped by their constant wavering with regards to their future. One minute these two are determined to fight to be together, and the next, the obstacles between them are insurmountable. This waffling gives the story a somewhat discombobulated feel at times, but it is very high on angst due to all the back and forth between the hero and heroine and that will likely appeal to some readers, along with the unique plot and the detailed pregnancy trope.

Niki Price