23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Bride Finder (Mass Market Paperback)
How does one describe perfection...The Bride Finder...would be one way. I sensed by reading some of Ms. Carroll's earlier novels that hers was a rare talent for combining deeply emotional writing with some uplifting sparks of wonderfully humorous dialog.
Anatole St. Leger is a very private and lonely man whose childhood left him with more scars than the visible one on his forehead. As head of the St. Leger family, he knows that he must marry and because any St. Leger man whose bride is not chosen by the Bride Finder is cursed he sends for the Bride Finder - a distant relation the Reverend Septimus Fitzleger. Anatole also gives him a list requesting a tall, large-bosomed, horse-loving wife. Well, the resident ghost Prospero - switches the list so that what Fitzleger does find is a tiny petite fairy-like creature that basically scares the hell out of our fearsome hero - the Lady Madeline Breton. The description and dialog of their initial meeting is pricelessly funny! Anatole definitely desires her but having never experienced any gentleness in his young life it was difficult for him to understand what exactly he should do or how to act with this woman who was now his wife. The legends state that the brides found by the Bride Finder would be the `soul mates' of the St. Leger men - passionate and all-loving. Anatole is at a loss and feels a complete failure that he cannot seem to elicit this passionate response from Madeline.
Madeline, something of a blue-stocking - possessed of a very sensible nature - had been the one that had kept her family from ultimate ruin so when approached by Fitzleger and offered a huge marriage settlement that would help her family from impending doom, she agreed to this proxy marriage. She had consoled herself with the locket that portrayed an image of a handsome and gentle faced man whom she had halfway fallen in love though she had never met him. The reality of meeting the very fierce warrior-like Anatole was at once shocking and mystifying. Had her family not spent the generous marriage settlement beforehand - she might just have turned and ran as far away as she could.
The rest of the novel is spent with Anatole trying desperately to keep his special powers hidden as well as the resident ghosts, from his bride, Madeline. His tiny but very sensible, forthright, and honest wife who does not believe in ghosts or things that have no logical basis in fact. The secondary plot here is the very real danger from St. Legers' archenemies, the Mortmains - whom it is believed all perished years ago.
This is the kind of book and story that remains with you long after you turn the last page. I am so happy that I have the next two sequels to this book just waiting for me to dive into. I highly recommend this book to be placed on most everyone's keeper shelf and enjoyed over and over again.