Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: The Wrong Bride

THE WRONG BRIDE
Highland Weddings #1
Gayle Callen
Historical Romance
384 pages
Avon
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Shaken from sleep during the night and bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he's kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction.

At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he's starting to crave Riona for her own sake, but her true identity jeopardizes his clan's contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he'll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he's fought so hard to save—the passionate marriage they could have together.


MY THOUGHTS
The Wrong Bride draws us in immediately as Riona's grabbed from her bed in the middle of the night and forced to travel cross country to the home of the McCallum Clan. In certain instances stories dealing with mistaken identity can be hugely stressful, anxiety over the moment everything comes to light keeping us from fully settling in, but thankfully in this case Riona is upfront from the beginning. She tries time and again to explain Hugh's error to him, and while he doesn't believe her until the concluding chapters, knowing she's not willingly keeping information from him makes for a much more enjoyable romance.

Hugh is everything that's to be expected of a highland hero; big, strapping and completely dedicated to the well-being of his clan. Though being a kidnapper of innocent women isn't much of a mark in his favor initially, he's nothing but patient with Riona as she struggles with the unfortunate events that marked the beginning of their courtship. He's more than willing to put in the time and effort to get to know her as a person, wanting their marriage to be a happy one despite its rocky start, and if that takes a little teasing and seducing, then so be it.

Riona is a bit trickier of a character, her initial outrage over her kidnapping warranted and the wariness that persists understandable, but she continues to fight Hugh (and herself) emotionally for so long that it's hard to believe she's actually come to love him by the end. The more she starts to warm to him physically, the more she chastises herself and then takes that anger out on him, and we're forced to bear witness to this internal struggle until the end when she finally comes to the realization that she actually wants to be his wife. Part of the frustration with her stems from the fact that we're experiencing her relationship with Hugh in the context of a romance novel, so we know that Hugh is the hero and a fundamentally good man from the get-go, something she obviously doesn't have the benefit of knowing with any certainty. That being said though, the way in which she continues to fight her new circumstances–refusing to try to get to know him and plotting to reveal her true identity to one of his high-ranked clansman–gets tedious after several hundred pages.

Overall, The Wrong Bride gives us a strapping Scottish hero desperately trying to make up for his late drunk of a father's cruel mistakes regarding his people, but we can't help but wish he had a heroine who showed more interest earlier so that we could have seen more of their dynamics as a couple. The concluding chapters introduce us to what will presumably be the lead couple in the next book, and Maggie and Owen's relationship leaves us with more than a little anticipation as we look ahead.

Rating: 3.5/5


Find Gayle:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

32 comments:

  1. Hmm. I've tried to read another Gayle Callen book (I think) and had to put it down because I wasn't that interested. Your review makes me think the author might just not be for me...

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    1. This was my first book by her, and I'm intrigued by the couple in the next book so I'll give her another try. We'll see:)

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  2. Eeep! Jenny! It's been so long since I blogged and went on a commenting spree, but now that I have, it's so great to see that nothing has changed and you still love your historical smut ;) I agree with you! There's something great about characters who don't keep information from the other party just to keep it or think that it's for the better or greater good. Hugh sounds like a charmer even though the kidnapping part sounds very icky. I'm glad though that Riona eventually decides to give it a go and that it ends on a good note. I hope the next novel is totally up your alley, Jenny! <3

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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    1. SIIRI I HAVE MISSED YOU!!!!! Historical smut (and smut in general) for the win:)

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  3. I haven't read a Scottish romance in so long! They, sadly, rarely work for me but I'm definitely curious about this one so I'll add it to my TBR for sure, despite a few qualms with this storyline. Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. I do love a good highland romance now and then Keertana. Riona was tricky at times, but I enjoyed it overall:)

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  4. I'm glad to hear that she was upfront from the very start. I'm nervous that I would be bothered by her not being emotionally attached to him until the very end, but I do want to meet Hugh so badly. He sounds like a dreamboat! :)
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. She fought just a little too long for me. I was all for her fighting initially since he kidnapped her at all, but it just got to be too much by the end:)

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  5. I like these books for the history and the setting for sure but I'm not sure about this female character. I think I might get a little TOO frustrated with her!

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    1. I just wanted her to stop fighting herself so much! She kept herself at such a distance emotionally (despite repeatedly saying she was falling for him, but then she's get mad at herself) that I wasn't able to believe in them as much as I wanted to.

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  6. Can't go wrong with a strong Scottish hero that's for sure. ;) Great review Jenny, I'm glad that you liked this so much. :D

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  7. I really loved Maggie from the few times we have seen her, I cant wait to see where her story leads. I really wish that the author had not spent so much time with the travel scene, it felt like it took up too much of the book.

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    1. ME EITHER! I'm so looking forward to her and Owen:)

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  8. Hmmm, I'm quite fond of Scots myself so despite Riona being a lil less sympathetic I'd probably enjoy this one, but I'm gonna wait to see if you enjoy the sequel more! ;)

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    1. I have high hopes for the next book Pili!!!!

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  9. I prefer to read contemporary. I only pick up Historical Romance, if my friends loved it, so I don’t think I would be reading this book. I don’t enjoy this kind of internal struggle in romance. Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I'm hoping the next book will be amazing Ksenia, so maybe you'll be able to give that one a try:)

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  10. I have being seeing this one around a lot, and everyone likes it. I think the premise sounds fun. but I am hesitating just because I am not the biggest fan of regency or historical romances.

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    1. Historical romance isn't for everyone, but I do enjoy a highlander on occasion:)

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  11. Haha oh, I love that set up. Too bad about Riona though. It still sounds really good. Have you read When a Scot Ties the Knot yet? I can't remember if you have. If not, read that one for sure!

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    1. I LOVED When a Scot Ties the Knot Christy!!!! So good:)

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  12. And what more could you ask for from a Highlander? :) I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny. It's been a while since I've read one of these!

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    1. I was in the mood for a big strapping Scotsman:)

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  13. This sounds so good!! I'm not sure if her lack of emotions would bother me, but it definitely seems like this book is worth the read! Fantastic review! :)

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    1. I just wanted to believe in her love for him a little more by the end Lisa - I believed him but I wasn't convinced she was all-in, but they were still cute together:)

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  14. I haven't tried this author Jenny, but a young Scotsman...yum

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    1. Right? Scotsmen are always enjoyable:)

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