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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom by Vanessa Kelly

Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom (The Renegade Royals, #2)

Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom by Vanessa Kelly
Publication date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Zebra
Series: The Renegade Royals #2
Goodreads | Amazon B&N
Griffin Steele, bastard nephew of the Prince Regent, is a notorious owner of famous gambling hells and brothels. Just when he intended to slowly transfer his business ownerships to others in preparation to leave for the Orient, an infant is mysteriously delivered on his doorstep with a note that it’s in danger. Frantic, his mentor-cum-annoying-guardian Dominic Hunter (also Justine's godfather) sends over the indomitable Justine Brightmore to be the baby’s nurse, and when an accidental scandal occurs, Griffin has no choice but to take Justine as his wife. Will their marriage ever brew affection, and possibly, love? Also important, just who is after that infant?

While the plot of this novel can be easily divided into halves – first being Griffin and Justine’s earlier interactions as caretakers of the baby, and second is the trials of their marriage-of-convenience – their characterizations are far more complex, Griffin’s more than Justine’s. Justine, being the daughter of a well-known spy, had her fill of adventures from her unconventional upbringing by relatives (since her father was often away for his agent work), and wants only a quiet, respectable life in the countryside. She came to help Griffin as a owed favor to Dominic, and life with him is the exact opposite of what she intended, or what she thought she wanted. Justine’s innately inquisitive nature clashes well with her outwardly prim and starched demeanor; her modest nature contrasting the nerves of steel within her, exhibiting in her not afraid to shoot a man down if necessary. Brava, Mrs. Kelly, for writing this wonderfully vulnerable yet tough heroine.

Griffin, on the other hand, fits the Bryonic hero of “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” In truth, he is one giant puzzle box that perplexes Justine to no end. He is fiercely protective of his independence after being oppressed by others while growing up, which shifted his loving side into those in his care. In this, he and Justine are the same – both are always trying to give and take care of others, without regard to themselves. Griffin, though, hides a world of pain with his mother abandoning him as a baby, his unwelcomed royal parentage, which creates the current him that is in between light and darkness. While his reputation is earthed in darkness, he himself baths in the light that was robbed from him in his childhood, and this melancholy realization endears him to Justine. 

As Griffin and Justine come to understand each other, they discover something new of the other in every day of their lives, and the mystery surrounding the infant heightens to a climax as well. While that mystery is fairly predictable, I felt the action was too crammed near the end of the novel that seemed almost like deux ex machina. Aside from that, it may be a bit frustrating for Justine’s insecurities to cloud the pages of her wondering if Griffin truly love her, but given her character, I overlooked it as a sign of her inversion – revealing more of her true self than the one she has attempted to mold. 

Overall, I enjoyed Vanessa Kelly’s writing and her nice blend of romantic action. Griffin’s paternally antagonistic relationship with Dominic was a delight to read as well, and I can’t wait to read Dominic’s book with his lost love Chloe, Griffin’s mother. (Then he’ll become Griffin’s stepfather! ^_^)

*Review copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley; yes it’s an honest review


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  1. This book sounds like it has a lot of interesting twists & turns, as well as a great romance. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for the review!



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