Now, that’s Sherry how I like her. And check this out – she used amnesia in this book without making it sound too ridiculous. I told you she could pull off anything she liked. I’m waiting for her to do something with amnesia AND a long-lost twin sibling!
In ‘Tempting the Bride’ we have a ludicrously proud hero and ever since ‘The Pride and Prejudice’ proud heroes have been my drug of choice. Hastings fell in love with Helena when they were teenagers and he went about it the way teenage boys often do, that is by being a total asshole to her. Sadly, once he adopts that pose and antagonises Helena, he can’t snap out of it. Years go by and he is stuck in this routine of being a total dick. Of course, inside he yearns for her.
Luckily for him, Helena makes a big mistake and puts herself in a compromising situation and the only way to save her reputation is to marry Hastings (who was at the right time at the right place due to his decade-long stalking habits). Seemingly now Hastings has got all he ever wanted – Helena as his wife. Unfortunately he is still being an ass and she still hates his guts. Ah, if only he could somehow start afresh with Helena, with a clean slate… If only… And what do you know – Helena knocks herself in the head and forgets the last twelve years of her life. Hastings gets his fresh start but it’s on borrowed time because Helena is slowly regaining her memory. All you, non-romance readers are now rolling yours eyes, I bet you are. But this plot was absolutely perfect. What a genius Sherry Thomas is!
And she is probably the first person to use a Chinese box literary device in a romance novel to show how afraid and fucked-up the hero is. Unable to express his real feelings, Hastings writes an erotic story about a couple but even in this story the hero can’t fully stop from being an ass, so he tells the heroine of this story a fairy tale, where the hero finally stops being ass and humbles himself. And you can even download that story in full! It’s a story within a story within a story and only in that deepest story can the hero finally say: look, I kinda love you, ok? I’m fangirling all over the place now. That was awesome!
What I also really like about Sherry Thomas is that she doesn’t often use a misunderstanding that could easily be solved in a 3 minute conversation as a plot device. There is always some bigger emotional back-log to work out before there can be a happy ever after.