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Peek Inside The Bashful Bride

Heiress Ester Croome proposes an elopement to London’s most famous actor, Arthur Bex. But a love for Shakespeare is not enough to bind a couple looking to outrun the chains of the past.

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A friend's newspaper advertisement for a groom nets the most famous actor in London, Arthur Bex. Shy heiress Ester Croome proposes to elope with the handsome man, who she's secretly loved for two years, in order to escape an impending engagement arranged by her overbearing family.

Trying to outlive the shadow of his villainous uncle, Bex needs to marry quickly—to a woman of good character. And smart, beautiful Ester fits the bill. But a harrowing trip to Gretna Green and dangerous abolition rallies prove to be a more treacherous stage than either imagined. Infatuation and a mutual love for Shakespeare might not be enough to bind a couple looking to outrun the chains and secrets of family and the past.

Each book in the Advertisements for Love series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Series Order:

Book #1 The Bittersweet Bride
Book #2 The Bashful Bride
Book #3 The Butterfly Bride
Book #4 The Bewildered Bride


A unique and lovely new voice in historical fiction romance. Definitely recommend for those seeking to add diverse stories to their library's collection. Sweet, with Christian themes.” – Elizabeth G., NetGalley

Yet another Vanessa Riley book that I love, The Bashful Bride! How can't you fall in love with a storyline with Bex and Ester in it?! What a guy! Bex was the kind of guy that could have truly been mean and terrible, but he chose to live above what could have made him a lesser man. Ester, Ester, Ester! She's a strong woman who knew she didn't want to be forced to marry someone she didn't love so she took it into her own hands. Not a typical storyline so I'm sure you'll enjoy it!” – Becky H., Goodreads

“I’m in love with Bex and Ester! Their sweet love story swept me off my feet.” –Erika C., NetGalley

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781640635623
Series: Advertisements for Love, Book 2
Release Date: May 28, 2018
Page Count: 362
Imprint: amara next
Genre: historical, multi-cultural
Tropes: across the tracks, forbidden love/off limits, opposites attract, political scandal, redemption, road romance, unrequited love

Select Featured Reviews

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By Rachel- Goodbye Borders May 28, 2018

"Hopefully, all you see is a girl going with a boy to Gretna Green to marry and live happily ever after."
Ester's father wants to marry her off to someone of his choosing. Problem is, Ester doesn't like the man chosen. He is a far too interested in all the ladies. Her friend, Frederica, is looking fo ...more

By Maida May 18, 2018

This is the first book by Vanessa Riley that I've read and I can see why she has won awards. She is most definitely a unique voice in historical romance, one that we need because nobody else tells the stories she does.

It's a learning experience for me reading a Blackamoor heroine and witnessing via ...more

By Frankie June 01, 2018

This is book two in the ‘Advertisements for Love’ series, and I have to say that this one is so far my favourite. It’s thrilling, real and romantic with such a swoon-worthy hero!

Ester Croome has been told by her parent’s in no uncertain terms that she is going to marry a womanizing lothario, who jus ...more

By Alexis May 14, 2018

This book was SO GOOD!

Vanessa Riley, the author, has really outdone herself. I'm not a big fan of historical romance but Vanessa's books are delightful and make me want to read more books by her brilliant mind!

"The Bashful Bride" was a sweet, tender, riveting romance filled with danger, dashed dream ...more

By Bhriv May 26, 2018

Yet another Vanessa Riley book that I love, The Bashful Bride! How can't you fall in love with a storyline with Bex and Ester in it?!
What a guy! Bex was the kind of guy that could have truly been mean and terrible, but he chose to live above what could have made him a lesser man. Ester, Ester, Este ...more

By Trully May 02, 2018

Arthur Bex is every thing Ester Croome imagines she would want in a man. However she finds out she will wed on her 21st birthday when overhearing her dad speaking about a womanizer Charles Jordan who is of little interest to Ester.

Being devastated, Ester isn't sure what to do. One of her closest fri ...more

By Tracy May 29, 2018

Ester and Bex

When her dear friend places a matrimonial advertisement and discovers that her correspondent is the man Ester has obsessed over for two years, she steps aside and lets Ester take her place.

The shy and retiring Ester takes the bull by the horn and literally seizes the day. This story ta ...more

By Sharon December 29, 2018

Ester Croome is the heiress who doesn't want to marry her father's choice. Bex is a famous stage actor that Ester has been infatuated with for two years. They run away to Gretna Green to try to solve their problems, but of course it's not that easy. This is a sweet romance that carefully deals with ...more

By Lori May 25, 2018

A sweet, tender romance fulled with wonderful characters and suspenseful moments. Ester Croome is set to marry a man her father has picked out when she has her 21st birthday. The man is a known rake and Ester holds little interest for the marriage. She has held a crush for Auther Bex, a well known a ...more

By Jennifer June 05, 2018

Ester Croome has led a sheltered life and knows little about the gritty side of 19th century London. But when she comes face to face with the famous stage actor she’s been infatuated with for years, shy Ester makes a bold proposal. Arthur Bex is a successful actor and a passionate abolitionist in se ...more

By Lauren May 25, 2018

This is the second book in the Advertisements for Love series, though it can be read as a standalone. I loved Theodosia’s book, so I was excited to ready about her friend, Ester, a young black woman whose father made his wealth in textiles. While I didn’t like this book as much, it still had a lot o ...more

By April May 25, 2018

The Bashful Bride (Advertisements for Love #2) by Vanessa Riley is an interesting and unique story of secrets, abolitionist, romance and so much more. While, 2nd book in the ADVERTISEMENT FOR LOVE, it can be read as a stand alone. See THE BITTERSWEET BRIDE, book 1.
Well written in Ms. Riley's unique ...more

By Eileen May 30, 2018

I think this is my favorite Vanessa Riley book yet! ...more

By Agata Weronika May 20, 2018

On the surface it’s a riveting melodrama about an heiress eloping with a famous actor. These two theater nerds geek out about Shakespeare all the way to Scotland; she blushes a lot, it’s cute :) But once you consider he is involved in the abolition movement, she is navigating societal expectations o ...more

By Eva August 30, 2018

the bashful bride is not your standard regency fare. picking up the stories of london's 'blackamoor' population in the early nineteenth century, riley gives voice to people whose stories haven't been written. based on historical fact, you can see the meticulous research that builds the regency world ...more

By books are love June 03, 2018

Received in exchange for a honest review.

There wasn’t a moment when I didn’t love Bex. He was not what I expected. Kind, caring, trying to atone for the sins of his family but also believing passionately in a cause and putting himself out there for it. When he decides he wants a wife he puts a ad in ...more

By Fizza May 28, 2018

4.5 Stars
It's a great story and id beautifully interwoven. All the characters are great and I think the author has given them very interesting pasts, which has given them more depth. I really liked the characters in this novel.

Ester Croome is a sheltered young girl who judges her parents harshly bas ...more

By Sonya August 08, 2018

Ester Croome was an heiress who was a Blackamoor or at least part of african descent. She had been secretly in love with Arthur Bex for two years. Arthur was a successful author who had dark hair and blue eyes and was a different race from Ester. Ester's parents had been very successful in the texti ...more

By Petula May 25, 2018

Miss Ester Croome's friend has advertised in the paper for a husband. Tonight is when she will meet him for the first time, so she needs Ester to be her chaperone and support. Ester is unfortunately a little distracted by events at home, and her fascination for a famous actor.
Mr Arthur Bex is an av ...more

By Anna June 02, 2018

I have pivoted back and forth like a seesaw on what to rate this at. I have finally went to four stars instead of the three I was going to do. Why? It is a read that will stay with you in your mind. One that the characters the biracial relationship as well as the historical overtures through out the ...more

By Cheryl May 28, 2018

I did find the first half to be at quite a slow pace but I was glad I continued to read on as once they had almost reached Gretna Green the story proceeded at a good pace with plenty of activity. It became a captivating read. I did like the character of Arthur Bex, he had such strong convictions and ...more

By Martha June 06, 2018

The books in this series are stand alone, but I found that I believe more enjoyable when read in order. Vanessa Riley brings to life a time period and culture from a time period that is rarely written about. She does so in this beautiful tale of love, where people are willing to do anything for anot ...more

By Chelsea May 29, 2018

I have been given a review copy of this title through NetGalley and I have voluntarily decided to give my opinion. This is the second book in the Advertisements for Love series and it can be read as a standalone title. In this story you are introduced to Arthur Bex and Ester Croome and I loved getti ...more

By Shelley September 07, 2018

Wonderfully Entertaining

Great tale of love and the obstacles facing Ester and Bex. He's an actor with a secret, fighting to abolish worldwide slavery, she's a sheltered Blackamoor, struggling to overcome her insecurities and just love Bex for the good man he is despite her fears for his life. ...more

By Brittany June 06, 2018

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I did really enjoy this a great deal. The story was well done and I loved the romance that grew between the two. The only thing I wasn’t over the moon about was how horrible her parents treated her. Overall a pretty good read. ...more

Showing 1 to 25 of 25
3.50 avg rating
Vanessa Riley

About the author

Award Winning Author

Vanessa Riley

Award winning, Amazon Bestselling author, Vanessa Riley, worked as an engineer before allowing her passion for historical romance to shine. A Regency era (early 1800s) and Jane Austen enthusiast, she brings the flavor of diverse, eclectic peoples to her stories. The author of Madeline's Protector, Swept Away, Unmasked Heart, The Bargain, and Unveiling Love, she has won the Beacon Award, the Colorado Award of Excellence, and placed in the International Digital Awards for her Regency romances. Vanessa Riley is a historical buff who has spent many years researching Regency society. During her undergraduate studies at Penn State, she gained a love of Western Civilization and took as many classes as she could while pursuing Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Her love of history has given her a passion for conducting precise research in architecture, customs, and rituals of the times. She lives in Atlanta with her career military husband and precocious child. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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