Review: His Darling Bride by Anna DeStefano

His Darling Bride
Series: Echoes of the Heart, #3
Author: Anna DeStefano
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from Amazon Publishing via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.


Bethany Darling doesn’t kiss men at first sight…until she falls into the arms of a handsome cowboy bartender.

A mysterious stranger, Mike helps scare off Bethany’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend. Mike’s touch feels like coming home. But Bethany’s so not interested. Between stalled-out dreams of becoming a painter, troubles reconnecting with her sprawling foster family, and the happy chaos of her sister’s upcoming wedding, Bethany’s already in over her head. But each time she and Mike stumble across each other in small-town Chandlerville…sparks fly.

A famous photographer hiding under a Stetson, Mike Taylor recognizes Bethany as a kindred artistic spirit. Together they rekindle her passion for painting—and she inspires him in unexpected, undeniable ways. Then when Mike’s own past threatens to tear apart his present, Bethany becomes his safe place to turn.

Can these two wandering souls finally trust their hearts? Or will they run from the forever love they never expected to find?

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

His Darling Bride is a story of healing, of letting go of the past and accepting love.

Bethany Darling has spent years running from her mistakes. Now, she’s returned to her hometown to reunite with her foster family and show them how much she loves them. She’s also hoping the spark she’s been missing in her painting will return.

Mike Taylor likes to fly under the radar when he moves to a new town. Most people would think he’s just an aimless drifter. They would be partially right. The famous photographer out runs his past by doing good in the communities he visits. Mike’s sure Chandlerville, Georgia will be just another stop on his journey until he meets Bethany.

Mike immediately recognizes a shared artistic passion in Bethany. That’s not all he notices, though. When an innocent kiss to ward off her ex ignites a need for her, Mike’s tempted to give up his rambling ways.

But all too soon, his past is calling him back. Mike and Bethany will have to decide whether they want to keep running from love or trust in it.

His Darling Bride was a well-rounded romance. It had a little bit of everything. The story started out mysteriously with Mike’s perspective. Then it switched to hilarious with the addition of Bethany’s perspective. Once I got my initial impressions of the characters, it turned into a sweet, slow-burn romance.

I loved Bethany and Mike. They were a mess on their own, but together they found the strength they needed to become who they wanted to be. Bethany’s relationship with Mike gave her the courage to accept herself and an extra spark for her creativity. In Bethany, Mike found the family and home he didn’t know he was searching for.

There were also a bunch of supporting characters to this story who were very interesting. I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, but I would like to now. I want to know their stories — especially Oliver and Selena’s!

The only small complaint I had with the story was the ending. Things wrapped up a lot quicker than I expected. Readers who enjoy a HEA probably won’t mind it, but I found it to be a little shocking and almost unbelievable due to the amount of time Bethany and Mike knew each other. Otherwise, the way the story was laid out was perfect.

I would recommend His Darling Bride to contemporary romance readers who enjoy slow-burn romances with a lot of character growth.

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