The Substitute Bride

Author: Margaret Blake

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Release Date: October 2008

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5


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Elizabeth Mary, or Bess as she prefers to be called, has found herself in a most tenuous situation.  Her older sister Mary Elizabeth has been promised to the Lord Hinchliff and her marriage date is upon her but she insists that marriage is not for her – she wants to join a convent.  Since Lord Hinchcliffe has never met either of them Mary Elizabeth reasons that it should be relatively easy for Bess to take her place at Lord Hinchcliffe’s side.

Bess is extremely uncomfortable going along with Mary Elizabeth’s deception but after discovering her sister’s desperation she feels that it’s the right thing to do.   She vows to make up for the deceit by being a good wife and helpmate.  Since he’s sent his squire to marry her by proxy the chances of him realizing that he’s married to the wrong sister is highly unlikely.


Lord Edward Hinchcliffe is a hard man who’s very fair but detests liars of any sort.  He’s well respected amongst his peers and those who serve him.  He wasn’t truly looking forward to his marriage but the property that comes with this union will be worth saddling himself with a wife.  Nothing about Bess is as he expects it and she certainly appears to be younger than he’d been told.


Their relationship progresses at a normal pace and Bess and Edward seem to be happy together for the most part.  Even his people have come to respect and adore Bess.  Unfortunately living a lie is very difficult for Bess and she lives in fear of Edward learning the truth.  When his brother and sister-in-law arrive unexpectedly it appears that things may come close to unraveling – especially when Bess learns that the other couple be going to stay at Abbotsworth for a time.  Beth’s not sure that her sister’s left for the convent yet and the discovery of her deception could destroy the life she’s built with Edward. 


Margaret Blake’s novel THE SUBSTITUTE BRIDE brings a unique flair to historical storylines that readers will relish.  Bess and Edward don’t exactly seem like an ideal couple at first but it soon becomes obvious that they balance each other out perfectly.  Bess’s naivety and inner strength in the face of Edward’s stringent attitude provide plenty of memorable scenes to keep you immersed in the story.  I really empathized with Bess as she agonized over what Edward’s reaction would be if he ever found out about the deception.  Now if you’re wondering about Beth’s sister’s real story, well, you’ll just have to pick up a copy to find out the story behind her ‘fear’ of marriage.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne

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