The Substitute Wife by Dallas Schulze is one of those stories, which makes you feel good for the first eighty percent (80%) of the book. However, when you are near to the end, it makes you want to scream and if it was possible to knock the protagonist on his ass. Yeah, this is exactly how I felt while reading this story.
· I am a sucker the marriage arrangement trope and this was the main thing that had me reaching for this story. Luke has been given an ultimatum by his grandfather. Either he gets married before his 36th birthday or risk losing his inheritance. His first choice of a wife was not one his grandfather would approve of, but for Luke this was the perfect revenge. Then she reneged on their agreement, leaving him in a lurch, making room for Catherine who has been attracted to him from the moment she first laid eyes on him. At first, he was not inclined to take Cat’s offer but her innocence and wit pulled him in and before he knew it he was putting a ring on it.
· Besides the main romance, the story featured a budding romance between the male friends of both protagonist. I am not fan of gay romance but I could get on board with this one as it was tastefully done, and the way it was portrayed was rather sweet and endearing.
· There was several laugh out loud moments. Cat’s sense of humour and no-nonsense attitude captivated me throughout the story. I had a great time getting to know her. Honestly, I did not think Luke deserved her, especially after his betrayal near to the end of the story.
· A well-written story that featured great supporting characters, with my least favourite Cat’s stepsister. Her stepfather and his wife lived in a world of their own. I wondered how they functioned.
· I did not like Luke’s treatment of Cat. Honestly, I did not think he deserved her. Someone as sweet as Cat deserved someone who would appreciate her wit, innocence and kindness. My estimation of him lowered further after his betrayal near to the end of the story.
· The story ended the way I expected, but I felt that the events leading up to it could have done with a little more substance. I didn’t believe Luke was remorseful enough and Cat was too quick to accept his apology.
· I had a hard time believing Luke loved Cat as such I never bought into their romance.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read but would have so much better if the hero wasn’t such a jerk.
When Luke Quintain’s fiancee dumped him, Catherine Lang understood immediately that she was the perfect solution to his problem. Leggy, flame haired and wise beyond her years, she decided that he should marry her instead.
But even though Luke needed a wife by his thirty-sixth birthday or he would lose his inheritance, he had to say “No!” Well, that was what he tried to say, but somehow Cat left with a ring on her finger and a wedding date on her calendar. And Luke could only curse his grandfather’s positively medieval blackmailing scheme…and count the seconds till the wedding night.
Cat, of course, knows her own mind — and her own heart — and she wants Luke. Meanwhile, Luke is wondering how long this will play out, and hoping that it might be a little longer with each passing day. The problem is, he’s quite capable of doing something very stupid — like falling for Cat.
Because sometimes love just doesn’t take no for an answer