The Bride Takes a Groom by Lisa BerneThe Bride Takes a Groom by Lisa Berne
Series: The Penhallow Dynasty #3
Published by Avon on April 24, 2018
Genres: Regency Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Advance Reader Copy, edelweiss
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Lisa Berne’s Penhallow Dynasty continues with a pair of star-crossed childhood friends who meet again years later—and find love where they least expect it...

Katherine Brooke may be a fabulously wealthy heiress, but she’s trapped, a pawn in her parents’ ruthless game to marry her into the nobility. Then Captain Hugo Penhallow—so charming, as handsome as a Greek god—comes into her life once more, and suddenly she sees a chance to be free.

As a Penhallow, his is one of the highest names in the land, but still his family is facing ruin. So Katherine boldly proposes an exchange: his name for her money. But only if Hugo understands it’s merely a practical arrangement, and that she’s not surrendering herself entirely.

Back from eight years in America and determined to give his younger siblings a better life, Hugo agrees. He’s never fallen in love, so why not? Yet neither of them guesses that this marriage will become far, far more than they ever dreamed of.

I know, I know. 1 star. Guys, I never give 1 star to books. Buckle up. It’s about to get bumpy.

In this book, Katherine is in a terrible position. Her parents have an obscene amount of money, but money can’t buy class, isn’t that the saying? Her parents have given her the best education money can buy, but she was caught making out with a teacher, he of course blamed her, and her poor young teenage heart learned that lust is bad (more on this later).

Her parents left her in that boarding school for a long time, so while they are terribly gauche and put on airs, she’s very well-mannered. Her parents are trying to marry her off into the peerage so they can finally be accepted. Katherine has felt as if she’s never had any control over her life at all, and she’s been so smothered she’s about to scream.

Hugo is the eldest in a family of eccentrics, I guess. His family is a house full of ninnies. I have no other word for them. They are all immature and ridiculous. His mother was so silly. Just silly. Not a lick of sense amongst them. He’s constantly being described as a Greek god, and that was so pointless. Seriously. Once was enough. He’s back from the sea, he’s in the Navy I believe, and he’s decided based on a letter from his mother, that he’s going to propose to Katherine. They were neighbors in their youth and he remembers liking her well enough, she has money, he has one of the oldest names in England, so win-win.


Katherine sees Hugo and instantly she feels lust. It’s uncomfortable, especially as she desires nothing but control, and these feelings for Hugo are uncontrollable. However, she figures she’ll ignore it or something. She asks him to marry her for her money, and she’ll get freedom and control. They both get their wishes. But…

You know there’s a but here, right?

Hugo is super laid back. He recognizes early on that Katherine seems to prize control, so he’s okay with her taking over. However, she’s just a horrible person. Once they get engaged, she goes to her parents, tells them she’ll be getting married, then tells them her monetary demands and basically says peace out, folks. I’m leaving. It’s an awkward scene for Hugo, but it shows that Katherine is just…immature and mean. This entire book felt as if everyone was much younger than they truly were.

Now, her parents are supposed to be just horrible, terrible, awful human beings. I saw two very rich middle class parents who wanted the best for their daughter. And yes, they are incredibly gauche and vulgar, and they want to ride Katherine’s coattails all the way to London. I get it. They were bad parents. But they weren’t evil. They weren’t that bad. There’s a comeuppance scene for them at the end, and it felt so wrong. Like, they weren’t that bad, so why write that scene in. It’s supposed to be freeing to Katherine, but yet again, she just comes off spoiled and immature and makes rash decisions.


This is a terrible romance. It’s more a book about Katherine finding herself, and I sure don’t like who she is. It took 200 pages for me to DNF, and really I skipped to the end anyway, but Hugo is a side character, a foot note, a cardboard cutout of a hero. He is bland, he has very little in the way of page time, and he by 200 pages in is thinking (even if only for a split second) of hooking up with another woman, and I can’t say that I blame him.

Katherine thinks she’s acting polished and proper but really comes off constantly as stiff and priggish to everyone.  At first, you don’t blame her since her upbringing was absolutely horrid, but by 200 pages into a 300 page book, we should see some sort of change. At 2/3 of the way through this book, she should have at least an inkling of who she’s becoming. But she’s still horrible. And seriously, this far in, there should be a connection between the hero and heroine. This is a book about Katherine trying to figure out who she is now that she’s achieved her goal of being free and in control. And Hugo is just along for the ride.

Avoid this book. It’s really tedious. The characters are silly and behave much younger than their ages. It’s not what I’ve come to expect from Avon books.

I’d also like to add that I decided to read the first book in this series immediately after to see if I’d have the same problems, and I did. This author is not for me, at all, in any shape way or form. I won’t be reading her again.

***ARC courtesy of Avon