His Spanish Bride

His Spanish Bride - Teresa Grant A question often asked of me regarding series is whether or not the books can or should be read out of sequence. It's a question every authors need to consider. As a bookseller, I often find myself diving into the middle of a series and feeling slightly disoriented for it.In the case of Grant's novels, I was luckily enough to start from the beginning, but in this case, that wasn't too much of an advantage, as she likes to throw her readers off their equilibrium occasionally by juggling her characters' timeline.Malcome Rannoch and Suzanne de Saint-Vallier have an interesting history both on and off the page. They were first introduced to the world as Charles Fraser and Mélanie de Saint-Vallier. Although that first novel, Secrets of a Lady, does contain their first meeting in a flashback, it's a meeting that only becomes complex as we read on in the series, learning new facts and facets about both characters.When Grant made the switch from HarperCollins to Kensington Publications, the names of the characters changed, but so did the period of their lives that took focus. Grant began to concentrate on an earlier point in the marriage, bringing us her fabulous novels at the Congress of Vienna and Waterloo.As with every addition in the series, His Spanish Bride adds layers to the Rannochs' story. It's also a lovely way to be introduced to her characters for the first time. Taking place in Lisbon, shortly after their meeting, we watch as Malcolm and Suzanne take the first, irrevocable steps that will lead to all the deception, heartbreak and trust that will follow. It's the moment they each decide, stupidly, selfishly, with deception on both sides, to marry the other.While the reasons for Suzanne's deception are laid out on the page in The Spanish Bride, Grant keeps Malcolm's motives relatively hidden -- that discovery is contained in another volume of the Rannoch story. The unanswered questions that will intrigue a new reader. A follower of the series will see the same omissions with sense of closure, and sometimes tragedy.Deception in marriage is a common theme in Grant's novels, constantly asking us which marriage is more truthful, the Rannochs' or those around them in society.When a compromising letter from the Marquesa de Flores disappears, a duel between her English lover and her Spanish husband could change alliances between countries and the course of the battle against Napoleon. Malcolm and Suzanne both have an interest in the letter's fate, but are hoping for different outcomes.His Spanish Bride is a wonderful addition to the Rannoch story. As a reader from the beginning, I was delighted to find the characters surprising me, because, of course, they are not yet the people that they will become in the other books. A new reader starting with His Spanish Bride and continuing to the other books, will see those changes in a slightly different way.So to answer the dilemma that opens this review, I must answer that one of the delights of Grant's work is that you really can start anywhere. Each book adds new layers to the ones that come before and after, both chronologically and in order of publication.CateNB: Teresa/Tracy is a long-time favourite author of mine, and I sell her books whenever I can. Because of this enthusiasm, she and I now correspond and she has been generously providing me with advanced copies of her novels.