From the WireTrashy Bitches

Wed by Proxy by Alice Coldbreath

Let me introduce you to “Wed by Proxy” by Alice Coldbreath, a captivating novel that scratches an itch you didn’t even know you had. In this delightful book, Mathilde, a sheltered young woman, finds herself married off three times for political reasons. However, she only meets her husbands a handful of times before they pass away. When she finally meets her current husband, Lord Guy Martindale, after four years of marriage, she runs away to be with him, only to be mistaken for his mistress. This progressive take on classic romance novels captivates readers with its charming characters, believable naivete, and a healthy dose of groveling and consent. You won’t be able to put this book down!

Wed by Proxy by Alice Coldbreath

Plot Summary

In “Wed by Proxy” by Alice Coldbreath, the story revolves around Mathilde, a woman who has been married three times for political reasons but has yet to consummate any of those marriages. Her mother, a powerful courtier in the country of Karadok, arranges these marriages, and Mathilde is longing for a different life. She decides to escape to meet her current husband, Lord Guy Martindale, whom she has never met before. Accompanied by a few pages, Mathilde embarks on a journey that almost ends in disaster as they are thrown into jail. However, Guy comes to their rescue and allows them to stay in his hunting lodge, refusing to acknowledge Mathilde as his wife. This sets the stage for the third act issue of the book.

Progressive Version of Old Archetypes

“Wed by Proxy” delivers a refreshing take on old archetypes often found in romance novels. Mathilde’s character embodies naivete and innocence, reminiscent of Amy Adams’ character in “Enchanted.” Coldbreath skillfully crafts a believable portrayal of Mathilde’s journey from a sheltered life to discovering her spirited side. Alongside Mathilde, Guy is presented as a gruff and protective alpha-male type. However, what sets this book apart is Guy’s belief in enthusiastic consent, promoting a more modern and respectful approach to romance. Additionally, Guy’s character development throughout the story adds depth and a much-welcome transformation.

Wed by Proxy by Alice Coldbreath

Enthusiastic Consent and Grovelling

Mathilde’s seduction techniques play a significant role in the plot of the book. Inspired by an illustrated erotica book gifted to her by a local witch, Mathilde uses these tips to win over Guy. What makes this portrayal unique is Guy’s deep belief in enthusiastic consent. In a genre often criticized for dubious consent and controlling behavior, Coldbreath presents a male character who values clear and enthusiastic agreement from his partner. Moreover, the book showcases Guy’s exceptional groveling skills, particularly in the last third of the story. His acts of supplication, literally kneeling at Mathilde’s feet, add depth and vulnerability to his character.

The Immersive Writing Style

One of the standout strengths of “Wed by Proxy” is Coldbreath’s ability to immerse readers in the story. The writing style expertly captures the readers’ attention, allowing them to escape from reality and fully engage in the narrative. Hours spent reading this book feel like moments as the pages turn effortlessly. The author’s talent for creating a captivating and absorbing reading experience is undeniable and keeps readers eagerly turning pages until the very end. It is no wonder that readers find themselves yearning to purchase the entire series after experiencing Coldbreath’s immersive writing style.

Wed by Proxy by Alice Coldbreath

Standalone vs. Series

While “Wed by Proxy” is labeled as a standalone novel, some reviewers suggest reading the Vawdrey Brothers series before diving into this book. As a first-time reader of Alice Coldbreath’s work, it was easy for me to adjust to the world and existing characters introduced in this book. However, the positive reception of the Vawdrey Brothers series by other readers has piqued my interest, and I am now motivated to start with book 1 of that series. The seamless transition and familiarity with the world and characters speak to Coldbreath’s mastery of storytelling, making it easier for readers to dive into her interconnected literary universe.

Recommendation for Future Works

I can’t help but express my adoration for “Wed by Proxy” and my excitement for future works from Alice Coldbreath. This book successfully updates older archetypes prevalent in romance novels, presenting a more progressive and respectful portrayal of relationships. The immersive reading experience provided by Coldbreath’s writing style is truly absorbing, capturing readers’ attention and transporting them into a world of love, tension, and passion. I eagerly anticipate more books from this talented author and the potential for further exploration of intriguing characters and captivating storylines.

Wed by Proxy by Alice Coldbreath

Review from a Friend’s Recommendation

When a friend recommended “Wed by Proxy” to me, I was immediately intrigued by the blurb alone: “Thrice wedded, but never bedded.” The promise of a captivating and tempestuous romance instantly appealed to me, triggering a sense of nostalgia for the romance novels of my youth. As a fan of Jilly Cooper’s series, I grew up indulging in passionate stories where slammed doors and groveling played prominent roles. However, with age and changing perspectives, I found myself craving a tempestuous novel without problematic elements such as dubious consent and controlling behavior. Alice Coldbreath’s book seemed to hold the promise of delivering just that, and I was eager to dive into its enticing pages.

Nostalgia for Jilly Cooper Novels

Having grown up on Jilly Cooper’s series, I have a deep appreciation for the tempestuous novels that once enthralled me. However, as I matured, I became increasingly aware of the problematic elements present in those books. The desire to recapture those intense feelings without the accompanying discomfort led me on a quest for a novel that struck the perfect balance. “Wed by Proxy” by Alice Coldbreath fills that void exquisitely, transporting readers into a passionate and thrilling narrative free of the problematic elements that tarnished past favorites. It offers the nostalgia and excitement of those beloved novels without causing any cringing or rage.

Mathilde’s Background and Character

Mathilde’s character is shaped by her powerful courtier mother and the political marriages she is forced into. Her mother plays a significant role in arranging these marriages for political gain, depriving Mathilde of physical contact with her previous husbands. The lack of emotional and physical connection in her previous marriages fuels Mathilde’s frustration and eventually leads her to escape in search of a different, more fulfilling life with her current husband, Guy. Her background and experiences lay the foundation for her growth, as she explores her independence and discovers her own desires.

Believable and Endearing Characters

Mathilde’s delicate and wide-eyed naivete serves as both a believable and endearing aspect of her character. Coldbreath masterfully portrays Mathilde’s journey from innocence to a more spirited nature, capturing the readers’ hearts along the way. With her teeth metaphorically biting, Mathilde evolves into a complex and captivating character. In contrast, Guy starts off as a somewhat flat alpha-male figure. However, as he meets and falls in love with Mathilde, his character blossoms, and his protective nature shines through. The author’s skill in crafting relatable and relatable characters adds depth and complexity to the story.

In conclusion, “Wed by Proxy” by Alice Coldbreath is a captivating and refreshing take on the romance genre. It successfully updates old archetypes by presenting more progressive and believable characters, such as Mathilde and Guy. The writing style immerses readers in a world of passion and tension, providing an escape from reality. Although the book is labeled as a standalone, the potential to explore the Vawdrey Brothers series adds an enticing layer for readers looking to delve deeper into Coldbreath’s literary universe. With unforgettable characters, a captivating plot, and a writing style that hooks readers from the first page, “Wed by Proxy” is a recommended read for anyone seeking a tempestuous romance without the problematic elements of the past.