Catherine Audley, the willful daughter of Britain's spymaster on the Iberian Peninsula, is far more sophisticated than most young women her age, which doesn't protect her from the machinations of her father, a husband of convenience, or the unrelenting demands of a long war. Over seven years of a first-hand, and highly personal, view of the Peninsular War, she matures into a woman who is finally able to go toe-to-toe with the enigmatic young man to whom she has given years of unquestioning devotion. Only to discover that love cannot compensate for betrayal of trust. Or can it?
While masquerading as an ox-cart driver, the young Englishman known as Blas the Bastard meets Catherine Audley, and his life is changed forever. It is 1807 and France is about to invade Portugal. To protect Cat's father, his gaming establishment in Lisbon, and the British spy network on the Peninsula, Blas proposes a "paper" marriage between himself and young Catherine. She is fourteen; he, twenty-one-both too young for the responsibilities they must assume. Blas is arrogant, dashing, occasionally reckless, totally bound up in the demands of the war, and seemingly oblivious to the looming disastrous conflict with his sometime wife.
When Cat finally discovers how badly Blas has deceived her, a monumental clash is inevitable. In no way does the triumph of allied troops in 1814 guarantee a happy ending for two people for whom the war was a personal disaster. Is she a sometime bride, the "widow of a man" who never existed? Is she Blas's well-rewarded, but discarded mistress? Or is she a beloved wife whose only rival is her husband's determined expediency in a time of war?
"The writing talent displayed by the author is wonderful . . . Ms. Bancroft's detail for historical events is phenomenal. . . ."
"Sometimes a reviewer gets a book so powerful, it's hard to know where to begin to tell about it. The Sometime Bride is such a book. I'll start by saying it is both historical fiction and a romance novel in about equal parts. . . . So much is always happening in The Sometime Bride that I couldn't read fast enough to find out how things turn out with Cat and Blas. . . . Bride passes every criterion for a successful book that I was given as a reviewer. Ms Bancroft weaves a most unusual love story in among the threads of history that cover eight years. She gives a clear and concise overview of that terrible, yet glorious, age that held both Napoleon and Wellington, and she makes it fascinating by showing it to us through her characters' eyes. I highly recommend both Tarleton's Wife and The Sometime Bride as companion books. The former starts later and carries its story from the Peninsula into the troubles in rural England. They are totally independent, but together give a vastly enlightening and entertaining view of the period through use of wonderful characters and page-turner plots-definite keepers, both."
"Set against the bloody Napoleonic wars, The Sometime Bride is ambitious, engrossing and absolutely wonderful."
"The Sometime Bride by Blair Bancroft is a riveting and well-written story set partly in Portugal, Regency England and France. The tension between the hero and heroine sizzles. This book is a page-turner and a story that seemed to end too soon."