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Book CoverStevie‘s review of The Bride Says Maybe (The Brides of Wishmore, Book 2) by Cathy Maxwell
Historical Romance published by Avon 25 Feb 14

I offered to read this book in spite of my misgivings about the first in the series, because I wanted to see the redemption of the bratty Lady Tara at the hands of the Heathcliff-like Breccan Campbell. Sadly, both characters had been watered down from the versions we met in the previous book, and this story suffered because of that. And that’s despite the fact that I don’t normally like heroes cast in the Heathcliff mould.

The Tara we meet in this story is less of a brat and more of a sheltered child who has somehow failed to learn much of anything from her past mistakes, and she now longs to return to London in spite of everything that went wrong there the last time. So when her father marries her off to the despised Breccan, she makes a deal with him: she’ll give him the heirs he wants (two children, even though Tara knows little of how they need to go about this plan and neither seems to be considering the fact that their first two offspring might both be girls) and then he’ll let her go back to London with all the freedoms she will be able to enjoy as a married woman.

Now, if Breccan was heading into this deal purely out of a desire to get one over on both his family and Tara’s, there could have been a good story to tell in redeeming both of them. Unfortunately (from my point of view), he’s managed to fall for Tara in spite of not knowing much about her, aside from her previous bratty outbursts. Not only that, there’s an even softer side to Breccan: he’s a model landlord and clan-leader, improving the lot of all who live on his lands and investing all his resources into new methods of production so that everyone can have an income. He even pitches in to help build new cottages for the workers when the original buildings he commissioned fall down through shoddy craftsmanship. Even his one flaw – that of being unable to resist a challenge thrown down by his cousin on the other, more conventional, side of the family – doesn’t make him particularly interesting.

So the pair settle down in Breccan’s castle. Tara is abysmally unkind to Breccan’s dogs, but displays an unlikely flair for interior design. Breccan’s best horse, due to race against that of his cousin with all Breccan’s spare cash tied up in the betting, suffers a series of unlikely mishaps, which Tara manages to sort out. Breccan’s uncles had the potential to brighten up the story but don’t quite manage it. And, in the end, they all live happily ever after.

This book suffers from some of the flaws that bugged me in the first one of the series, though there are possibly not quite so many. However, I am unable to warm to any of the characters and find both the inconsistencies in characterisation between the books and Breccan’s rather anachronistic virtues hard to accept. Apparently there’s at least one more book to come in this series, but I think I’m going to give it a miss.

Stevies CatGrade: D


What happens when a bride says maybe?

She’d once been the toast of London, but now scandal has brought her down. Still, pretty, petted Lady Tara Davidson can’t believe her new fate. She had wanted to marry for love . . . but her profligate father has promised her hand to none other than Breccan Campbell, the “Beast of Aberfeldy” and laird of the valley’s most despised clan! Well, Tara may have to marry him, but Breccan can’t make her love him—can he?

What happens when the groom insists?

Breccan Campbell is nobody’s fool. He knows that Tara is trouble. Yet he’s determined to reform the Campbell name even if it means forging an alliance with the arrogant beauty. There’s no doubt that Tara is a challenge, and Breccan loves nothing more. For he’s vowed to thoroughly seduce Tara—and make her his in more than name alone.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:
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