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Bride of a Stranger by Jennifer Blake
Premise: Claire finds herself suddenly engaged to Justin and goes with him to his family's plantation outside of New Orleans. Justin's past is a "mystery" with rumors based on half-truths, such as Justin killing his uncle.

This is one of those contrived southern Gothics. First of all, I am not a big fan of southern Gothics and I think those brave authors who want to delve into such themes as slavery and voodoo should research the topic well in order to make it more believable. Now, not being an expert myself, I should probably not criticize but I just felt everything was either contrived or patronizing as if the author was trying to "inform" the reader about things that she may not know well but is spewing out based on something she just read. Yet the details seem inconsistent. Also inconsistent were some of the dialogue, such as, we know that Justin "blackmailed" Claire and her aunt into consenting to the marriage, then later, he accused her of agreeing to marry him too quickly/easily. Or when Justin's mother accused his father of infidelity but there was no corroboration of that. Some scenes were just cringe-worthy. The "secrets" about the murder seemed ridiculous since one person had aphasia after a stroke, another was the guilty party and the third misinterpreted the situation and no one outside those three could even explain or questioned the actions. And was it such a "wild west" that there was no punishment? As for characterization, it was bland. There was no anti-hero and the hero himself was so ineffectual. It seemed the only characters were a bunch of bitchy women

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