Book Review: The Convict’s Bounty Bride by Lena Dowling

convict2 The Convict’s Bounty Bride by Lena Dowling


Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley

Escape Publishing (Harlequin), March 2013

 Synopsis- Life as a convict in an Australian penal colony was brutal, but James Hunter had the advantages of raw physical strength and courage on his side. He survived, and now he is back; a self‐made man of means, determined to take the bride he was promised.
Lady Thea Willers knows nothing of the bargain her father made to save her brother, nor does she have any interest in marriage. It might be a radical idea, but what Thea wants is a career.
The revelation that her brother’s liberty depends on her marrying James Hunter is devastating. But nothing, it seems, has the power to shake Thea’s world upside down like James himself, or the way he makes her feel.

 Review- The Convict’s Bounty Bride is the debut novella by New Zealand author, Lena Dowling. At 59 pages it’s more like a short story that is set in England’s regency period. At first glance of the blurb the hero is said to be an ex-convict and I made the assumption that the story would be set in early Australia. Instead, as I mentioned it’s set in England and it’s about the lead up to his return to Australia and whether he will have a bride in tow with him.

Lady Thea Willers has no plans of marriage. In fact, she intends to be a spinster so she can pursue her career and lead an independent life. But when ex-convict James Hunter takes a liking to this fiesty, dogmatic young woman, he has his own ideas about her future.

To settle her brother’s gambling debts, Thea’s father enters into a contract of marriage for Hunter to his daughter. Obviously Thea isn’t happy about this decision and I was glad when she didn’t succumb to this decision lightly and proceeded to collate a list of questions to present to Hunter in order to decide whether marrying Hunter would be worth freeing her brother of if she should send him to the galleys. Of course her path to gain some control over the situation is meddled by her attraction and curiosity of Hunter as a prospective sexual partner and husband. When her brother’s debts are cleared via a family tragedy, Thea and Hunter are faced with the decision to proceed with a marriage based on love or to simply part ways.

The Convict’s Bounty Bride is a short, easy read. I liked that Thea wasn’t a martyr and that her strong attitudes were challenged by Hunter. He on the other hand saw no emotional or sexual value in marriage, he just wanted a partner and he fully intended to find sexual pleasure elsewhere- this too was challenged when he met Thea. The story was a pleasurable read, albeit not quite long enough for Thea and Hunter’s love to be completely believable but enjoyable nonetheless.

Overall Rating


“I really liked this”

The Convict’s Bounty Bride can be purchased from Escape Publishing and other leading ebook retailers

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