Book Review: The Defiant Bride by Leslie Hachtel

The Defiant Bride by Leslie Hachtel is a historical romance. Dariana refuses to be forced into marriage, even if it has been ordered by the king. With few options she fakes her own death. Praying the king will not retaliate against her father, she seeks refuge in the forest and learns to fend for herself. When William, a warrior knight, is felled by an arrow, she saves his life and arranges his rescue before fleeing to avoid discovery. William awakes from his injury determined to make her his own, so he hunts her down and tricks her into marrying him, intent on turning her defiance into love. But even as he begins to succeed, their enemies join forces to end the marriage, even if it means that Dariana must die. When Dariana is abducted, William must track her down to fight for her life and their happiness. And, Dariana, once the most defiant of brides, must channel her own strength of will into survival.

The Defiant Bride started strong. Dariana is a strong, smart, and independent woman that cares about her father and friends, but cannot stand the idea of being sent away to marry a foreign stranger. So, she fakes her death and learns to survive with the help of a good friend.  She stumbles across a plot to kill a lord, saves him, and sends him on his way. But he searches her out, knowing she was not a fever dream. So far, so good right? Well, then it all goes wrong.He kidnaps her from the forest and tricks her into marrying him, even though he is already betrothed to another. They have some issues from there, but then there are added outside dangers because of people that think William and/or Dariana have taken what is rightfully theirs. Of course Dariana comes to her senses and is head over heals in love with William and forgives him, even though he never admits that he was wrong or even thinks that he was wrong in his high handed actions. While I loved the action and the majority of Dariana's character, this bit of handsome hero is right even if he is incredably wrong and arrogant just drove me crazy and rather ruined the rest of the book. Both Dariana and William’s sister tell him that he is wrong, but they all just shrug it aside and move on! If they ever had a real argument about it, without leaving it behind to fall into bed, and had William every really apologized rather than just having it land in the territory of “but I was right and you love me so it is okay” I would have felt much better about the whole thing. 

The Defiant Bride is a decent read overall, if you can get past the fact that Dariana ends up married without the opportunity to make the choice herself, then the book would be so much better. I could not move past that, since that was at odds with the strength of character she starts the story with. I had such high hopes when starting this book, and am disappointed in the path it takes. 

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