Fiercely independent Daisy Chance has a dream—and it doesn’t involve marriage or babies (or being under any man’s thumb). Raised in poverty, she has a passion—and a talent—for making beautiful clothes. Daisy aims to become the finest dressmaker in London.
Dashing Irishman Patrick Flynn is wealthy and ambitious, and has entered society to find an aristocratic bride. Instead, he finds himself growing increasingly attracted to the headstrong, clever and outspoken Daisy. She’s wrong in every way—except the way she sets his heart racing.
However, when Flynn proposes marriage, Daisy refuses. She won’t give up her hard-won independence. Besides, she doesn’t want to join the fine ladies of society—she wants to dress them. She might, however, consider becoming Flynn’s secret mistress. . .
But Flynn wants a wife, not a mistress, and when Flynn sets his heart on something, nothing can stand in his way. . .
Publisher and Release Date: Berkley, 5th July 2016
Time and Setting: London, 1817
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Review Rating: 4 stars
Review by Sara
Anne Gracie closes out her Chance Sisters quartet with perhaps the most entertaining book of the series. The Summer Bride is a simple and engaging love story between a man, a woman… and her dress shop? Don’t worry, it will all make sense in the end.
Though her adoptive aunt Lady Beatrice is constantly trying to teach her the proper manners and deportment of a young lady of the ton, Daisy Chance is not a Lady. It was only fortunate happenstance that brought her to Lady Bea’s doorstep eighteen months earlier along with her three “sisters”. She is different from the other Chance women in that their future plans are all focused on their marriages or getting married and running a household for their husband. The future for Daisy is a dream of owning a dressmaking shop and creating beautiful gowns for the rich “toffs” to wear. Believing that no gentleman would want to marry a woman involved in trade it’s easier for Daisy to remain alone to keep from being hurt or losing everything to a man who can’t support her aspirations.
Lately, the only men that Daisy has learned to trust are her two brothers-in-law and their business partner Patrick Flynn. Flynn’s background is similar to Daisy’s in that he isn’t well-born, and she respects how he’s grown his fortune though hard work and a determined spirit. Flynn is enjoyable to talk to and doesn’t scoff at her more common mannerisms or her dream to be a business owner. If there was ever a man to tempt Daisy away from her own dream it would be Flynn; however she knows that he’s come to London to find himself a bride from the nobility so that puts him firmly under the category of a friend without the possibility of benefits.
Flynn is ready to court the daughter of an impoverished earl, well aware that it’s his money motivating the match, but for some reason he’s getting very mixed signals from the woman herself. After several uninspired visits to her home and a tepid carriage ride in the park Flynn isn’t sure that he wants to marry her at all. Things come to a head for him when his first kiss with the lady is a complete disaster. He knows she isn’t the woman for him but her backhanded compliments about his social standing make him question all his plans about marrying.
Longtime readers of the Chance Sisters series probably saw the match-up of Daisy and Flynn from almost the beginning; however that foreshadowing does nothing to take away from the pleasure of watching their relationship unfold. I adored Daisy and Flynn’s banter and playfulness when they both let their social polish fall away to reveal the real people underneath. They are absolutely perfect for each other and yet neither one can see it because of the expectations they’ve put on themselves. Daisy can only think about owning her shop and all the personal sacrifices required to make that dream a reality. She’s very slow to trust anyone – including Flynn – with the passionate side of herself that desires independence but also longs for a real connection with someone. Flynn’s need to recreate the sense of family that he lost in his youth leads him to making rash decisions about what truly constitutes a loving relationship. He goes about things the wrong way, valuing status and connection over comfort and emotion.
Ms. Grace adds a lot of humor to her storytelling and there are several scenes that made me laugh out loud or at least chuckle along with the characters. Daisy is a plain speaker and doesn’t mince words about her feelings in any given situation. It’s refreshing to have a heroine call out her hero on his foolishness or knock him down a peg or two when he tries to manipulate things in his favor. And Flynn isn’t afraid of being himself and I thought it was a great way of showing his character by having him favor truly garish waistcoats! His ill-fated courtship is handled in an amusing way and I loved his confusion at the idea that a woman might not be into him.
The events of The Summer Bride overlap the previous story, The Spring Bride, and I did feel like Daisy and Flynn’s story was strangely disconnected from the rest of the characters. The three Chance sisters and two previous heroes do appear but only in small scenes meant to remind readers that they exist and that their lives are progressing, too. I think it would be stretching things to say The Summer Bride could be a standalone but a reader who missed one or two other books won’t be lost coming back to the storyline. I greatly enjoyed Daisy’s story and was glad to see her, Flynn and her shop live happily ever after.