We first met the impetuous Isla Ramsey and the very correct Marquess of Pierce in More or Less a Temptress, the third novel in Anna Bradley’s Somerset Sisters trilogy. Here she begins a new but related series, Besotted Scots (and WHY has no one ever come up with that series title before? Genius!), and Isla is at its center, as she recovers from both scandal and heartbreak, now betrothed to her best friend.

That best friend is the eminently likable Earl of Sydney, but while he loves Isla dearly, it is another kind of affection he craves. And he finds it in his handsome, surly rescuer, farmer Lucas Dean, after a carriage accident nearly costs Sydney is life.

Willful misunderstandings and couples speaking and cross-purposes often frustrate me in a book, especially when it feels as though they are only there to act as a catalyst to angst and feel otherwise entirely out of character. That frustration is entirely absent here, as the assorted tangles of emotions, betrayals and mooted marriages of convenience are entirely justified, as are the tempestuous conversations among our four protagonists that so enjoyably address them. From the straight-laced Pierce’s muddled mind, going off the deep end due to jealousy and (he believes) unrequited adoration, to the fiery Isla’s constant need to run away, to Sydney’s dawning realization of having met his match, and to Lucas’s resentments and insecurities hiding behind his gruffness, this book is filled with points of view that you really want to know, and that you come to completely understand.

Intriguingly seeding possibilities for future Besotted Scots novels – obviously, we have to meet the woman who broke Ciaran’s heart that one time – and bringing back glimpses of some favorite Somerset characters, The Wayward Bride is a most excellent addition to Bradley’s uncommonly addictive Regency world.

– Rachel Hyland

 5 stars.

The Wayward Bride by Anna Bradley
Besotted Scots #1
Lyrical | Regency | February 26, 2019

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