Guest Review: When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley

Posted September 17, 2013 by Natalia S in Reviews | 3 Comments

When She Said I DoNatalia’s review of When She Said I Do (Worthington #1) by Celeste Bradley.

Angel’s Sin

Caught in a rainstorm, Miss Calliope Worthington takes shelter in a seemingly abandoned mansion. But when she finds a string of pearls in a dusty chest, she is caught red-handed by the house’s reclusive owner—Mr. Ren Porter—a fiery demon of a man who demands that Callie pay for the necklace…with her innocence.

Devil’s Bargain

When he first lays eyes on the beautiful trespasser, Ren mistakes her for an angel. But when he realizes Callie is a thief, he strikes a bargain she cannot refuse. She must take his hand in marriage and pay him back in full: one night of passion for each stolen pearl. But when Callie surrenders to his desires—night after wicked night—he awakens something deep inside of her. Something powerful and passionate. Like a fairy tale come true, the monster she married has become the man she loves…when she said I do

Calliope Worthington, also known as Cali is the eldest daughter of the Worthington clan. Her family is on some kind of road trip when they get stranded in the middle of a brutal storm. Soaking wet and hungry, they all take refuge in a seemingly empty house. After Cali insures that her family is fed and watered, she takes it upon herself to go exploring the mansion.

Ren porter is a lost soul. Embittered by his life, he stays stinking drunk most days, and is content to wallow in his own self-pity, until he hears the singing. He follows the voice he hears, finding Cali trying on a strand of pearls in one of his rooms. Immediately enthralled by her, he strikes a bargain with her. She must wed him, and earn back every pearl night by night. Only then will he allow her to go back to her family.

This Book had the potential to be a 5 star read. It had all the ideas I love. The first book in a series about a British family, historical romance, and of course a theme similar to one of my favorite Disney movies, Beauty and the beast. However, I’m sad to say that it just didn’t do it for me.

First off, the gaps. I felt so incomplete at times while reading this, that I actually went back pages just to make sure that I wasn’t missing something. Especially in the beginning. I felt that the book skipped around too much and too fast. One minute I’d be digesting one scene while the next thrust in to another. If I hadn’t had the actual book in my hands I almost would wonder if I had a defective copy.

Then, there were the characters. As I said, the idea was great. Personally I love series like this. I’m an avid fan of Lisa Kleyper’s Hathaway’s and wall flowers series, so of course when I picked up this book I was ecstatic that I had found another group of characters I could come to love. Except, I still don’t know any of them. For some reason, to me the characters were all one dimensional. I just couldn’t connect or relate to them in any way. I could relate to the idea of who they were supposed to be, but none of them ever became real people in my head. The two protagonists Cali and ren were definitely more real than the others, but I feel that separately and together they could’ve been more fleshed out.

I understood that the Author was trying to portray Cali as tired of being the constant caretaker of her boisterous family, hence trying to build a life of her own, but I didn’t truly connect with that aspect of her personality until the end. By that point, too many things were going on at the same time for me to appreciate it.

I thought Ren was a little bit unrealistic. Surely if you hate everything about life, are waiting to die, and are drowning in your own self-pity, your personality would be more bitter than his was. In my experience, when people are as bitter as he is supposed to be they are not nice to anyone. Why was he never mean, then? Also, what was the deal with the mystery? It was resolved sure, but it seemed to be thrown in there just to add something extra and with not much thought at all.

The only time I ever seemed to connect with this book was during the Love scenes. I have to say those were quite good. They were real, emotional, and well written. Cali and Ren obviously had some great chemistry in that arena. It just makes me sad that I couldn’t find it anywhere else. They never really had a true conversation that I can recall. There wasn’t any bantering, funny moments and even fighting as couples often have. It seemed to me that they just fell in to instant lust with one another, eventually fell in love, but I can’t tell you how they got there.

I don’t believe I’ll go on to read the next books in this series. Although the idea and potential are great, I wasn’t left with even a little curiosity as to where the rest of the family will end up. I think that if we took the wonderful emotion and connection found in the love scenes and added them to the rest of the book, then we would truly have had a 5 star read.

Grade: 2 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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3 responses to “Guest Review: When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley

  1. Ada

    I had a similar response when I read the book – I didn’t love it love it but I didn’t hate it either. It was like there was just one little thing missing that would make it the great Celeste Bradley book that I was used to. I definitely agree that Ren and Cali were the saving grace although about the end, it’s when I really started to appreciate her wild family. I do plan on trying at least another in the series just to see if they get better or at least more interesting.

    Great review!

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