“Yes, Lowe. Spank me and take away my TV privileges.”
Bride by Ali Hazelwood is an absolute delight, combining the best parts of supernatural romance and the natural charm and “unputdowness” she is known for.
“This war of ours, the one between the Vampyres and the Weres, began several centuries ago with brutal escalations of violence, culminated amid flowing torrents of varicolored blood, and ended in a whimper of buttercream cake on the day I met my husband for the first time. Which, as it happens, was also the day of our wedding.”
There is a cold war between humans, Weres, and Vampyres, a truce held onto by the thinness of a knife blade. One wrong move, one word spoken in anger, could set off a battle between these three forces where Weres and Vampyres could possibly die out and be lost forever. Enter our protagonist, “Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest.” She is an outcast, shunned by Vampyres, living in semi-blissful anonymity among the humans. Misery is called on again to uphold a peacekeeping alliance, this time with the wolves, where she is asked to marry the leader of one of the strongest packs in their community led by the unpredictable and ruthless Alpha, Lowe Moreland.
Misery and Lowe are opposites: Were vs. Human and cold vs. hot. She likes to sleep in the closet and drinks blood; he has a vast bed and basks in the sunlight while chasing and feasting on deer. However, parts of the two are so similar and have enigmatic chemistry that blisters every page you read that by the end of it, you are clamoring for more.
It is a real tragedy that only one book is in this series so far.
As someone who has read all of Hazelwood’s books and thoroughly enjoyed them, Bride fits perfectly in her catalog. But unlike her other books set in our everyday lives, Hazelwood has created an exciting world where these two characters live outside the standard paranormal paradigm.
Also, Bride has plenty of romantic tropes, pardon the pun, sink your teeth into: marriage of convenience, fated mates, opposites attract, forbidden romance, and a bit of “Romeo and Juliet” thrown in for good measure. None of it is saccharine-sweet; you know that the author has a solid grasp of the romance genre and what makes a good story.
“What I am is an adult woman with agency and the tools to make choices. Feel free to, you know, treat me accordingly.”
Bride is fantastic; it was an excellent book to start this year’s reading. I cannot recommend it enough, especially if your tastes run to the paranormal. However, even if you are not a typical romance reader, Bride will be joyous. Indeed, this should not be missed.