Review: My Darling Bride by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by Montlake.

Ilsa Madden-Mills is back with a new full-length book, and it's a companion novel to her Strangers in Love series, albeit with a very loose connection! My Darling Bride is a standalone, and it features Graham Harlan, the twenty-nine-year-old star tight end for the New York Pythons who is dealing with an injury incurred in the middle of the Super Bowl that leads to a near-death experience, and Emmaline Darling, the twenty-seven-year-old manager of a small, independent bookstore called A Likely Story in Manhattan and who lives with her younger siblings, Jane and Andrew, and Jane's daughter, Londyn. In order to help his younger brother, Brody, secure the family inheritance, Graham knows he has to comply with the stipulation mentioned in his late grandmother's will: marry a woman. Now, for someone like him, you'd think it wouldn't be a problem. However, Graham isn't in a relationship with anyone--he isn't even seeing anyone, period. So, what's a guy to do? Well, blackmail the woman who stole his Lamborghini, of course. He won't press charges if Emmy agrees to marry him and stay until the inheritance is received. Then they can go their separate ways and Graham could focus his attention on his one true love: football. But what if Graham's true love is actually this super sassy bookseller turned darling bride...and soon-to-be ex-wife?

Darling! Simply darling! I adored this book, and that's saying something considering the whole marriage of convenience romance trope isn't my favorite. When I call this book a standalone, it truly is that. While Tuck Avery (Princess and the Player) is mentioned, he plays no role in Emmy and Graham's story whatsoever. River Tate (The Revenge Pact) makes a cameo here, but it's Jasper (whose last name continues to escape me, but he was a barely a blip on the radar in Beauty and the Baller and a true supporting character in Princess and the Player) who makes his charmingly persistent presence known, what with now being Graham's self-appointed bestie and shadow and the Pythons's starting quarterback. But it's the main characters, Graham and Emmy, who truly own this story. They're strike an agreement, one that is mutually beneficial, with both believing that they would walk away once the Harlan inheritance was released. Alas (not really), love comes along, and well, best laid plans and all that. These two were great because they had dimension to them, with back stories that offered up interesting personal histories without making things overly complicated. I was happy about this return to Ilsa Madden-Mills's Pythons world--fingers crossed for Jasper's book--and My Darling Bride receives five stars.

Release Date: 05 December 2023

Date Read: 01 December 2023

Learn more about Ilsa Madden-Mills.

Pre-order My Darling Bride on Amazon.


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