Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Wedding by Julie Garwood

GENRE: historical romance

Marrying Connor MacAlister had been an impulsive act for Brenna. But MacAlister and his warriors offered precious few alternatives. Now, after a hasty forest wedding, they were man and wife. Determined to be happy, Brenna soon endears herself to most of the clan, despite--or perhaps because of--her uncanny knack for getting into trouble. And although she grows to adore her husband, she has no clue that Connor lives for the moments she whispers 'I love you'...words she never means him to hear.

This story, set in 12th century Scotland, recounts the romantic and tumultuous relationship between Brenna, an English lady, and Connor MacAlister, a Scottish chieftain. The fact that it is set in 12th century Scotland was my primary reason for reading this novel as I love that time period and also, Scotland has its ancient charm and appeal for me.

Brenna must leave her father’s home in the middle of the night, knowing she must marry the chieftain of the MacNare clan because her father and the chieftain seek an alliance. However, Brenna is kidnapped on her way to MacNare by Connor MacAlister, who is determined to marry her right then and there to make MacNare miserable, as he knows MacNare killed his father, but has no proof. Brenna agrees to marry him because the young warrior seems like the better alternative compared to the old MacNare. And so, the adventure begins.

The plot of this novel is entertaining and romantic, with bits of adventure and a few steamy scenes between Brenna and Connor. It is also predictable, but still entertaining. However, two things bothered me immensely. The first one is Connor’s revenge. He waited for sixteen years to get proof that MacNare killed his father and to be able to kill him. In the end, his revenge got five pages in a book that has almost five hundred (my copy). Throughout the novel, his feelings are discussed and I know that, as this is a historical romance, romance is the main theme, but still – he waited for sixteen years and his revenge unravelled so fast and almost randomly, and all the while, Brenna was is in his thoughts. That is romantic, but still, almost far-fetched in a warrior people fear.

The second thing that bothered me was Brenna. I understand completely why Connor had no qualms about their marriage. He knew he was going to marry her, he knew he wanted heirs from her and he was not shy around her, as that is just how he is. After all, it was his plan, so it is logical that he should have no qualms about their marriage. Brenna’s situation is different. She was kidnapped by him and had to marry him, as no was simply not an option, yet from the first moment he kisses her once they are husband and wife (mere hours after they met), she is all over him and falls in love with him so very fast. Again, I know this is a romance, but if someone kidnapped me and forced me to marry him, he would sleep outside with his horse, not in my bed, for a long, long time, no matter how dashing he was.

I like to know why a man and a woman love each other. Brenna and Connor weren’t together much at the beginning, as he had to go away often as a chieftain, and when they saw each other, it was all about the joys of the flesh, so I guess I might have missed when and why they fell in love. Also, Brenna is not much of a medieval lady at all. She is very modern and frankly, this type of heroine is getting old.
I have to say, though, that this was a fun read for me. It’s the sort of book that allows you to just enjoy what you read without having to think too much during the process. I would definitely recommend it to lovers of historical romance. The historical aspect is not so prominent, but it is a nice backdrop to the romance present in this novel.

I realised only later on that this novel is a part of the so called Laird’s Fiancees series. It is the second novel in the series, the first one being The Bride. According to the description, I definitely want to read The Bride.

I am familiar with Julie Garwood and I think she is a good authority in the genre of historical romances. I recommend this author to lovers of historical romances.



Jo K said...

Great review. I read The Wedding a while ago and I agree with you, it is entertaining, but I missed the reasons for Connor and Brenna falling in love. In terms of characters development this book is not the best of Garwood's books, but still enjoyable. You will surely like The Bride, I think.

Unknown said...

On the one hand this sounds like a great setting and a good story. But your issues with the relationship sound completely justified and I know it would annoy me. A great honest review.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Sounds like a cool story despite the lack of character development. I'm not really in to Scottish romances but this one sounds pretty interesting.

Blodeuedd said...

Awwww romances, they never make much sense, all the bride stealing and they falling in love. Still I love it :)

Jan von Harz said...

I have not read a romance novel in years, but this sound very typical. I am a bit surprised at you reading one though, it just doesn't seem like your kind of book. Still you did a great job with the review.

France said...

The WEDDING is such a good book, it's a great story that you just get carried away with. I will admit that at first I didn't want to read it because of the title, I thought it was going to be some sad love story, but I was taken by surprise. It is a love story, but a very twisted love story. The way the husband and the wife talk to each other and how they react to one another's words is pretty funny. It really was hard to put that book down. I read over 200 pages in one night because it just grabs you and you just don't want it to end.