I read this a couple of days ago and I didn't make any notes while reading, which I now regret. Oh well. Sorry!
I remember enough of it anyway. This book (THE BEAUTY BRIDE - by Claire Delacroix) wasn't nearly as outwardly ludicrous as the one previous, the title and main characters of whom I've already forgotten. It was so formulaic that you probably needn't bother reading much past the first few chapters, where all of the characters are introduced, but I did anyway.
Sure, it was entertaining. I read the whole book, didn't I? But I'm blessed with fast reading speed, and I believe I read the whole thing in one or two sittings. Even with the entertainment factor, the book was uninspired and the writing tepid, at best.
The narrative follows Madeline and Rhys, one either Irish or Scottish and the other Welsh. I never could figure out exactly what she was supposed to be, but it didn't really matter too much. Her hand is auctioned off by her brother, who needs the money for something, and this... Welshman? Is that a word? Well, he buys it. We have an escape from her terrible fate, a near rape, a fairy, her old beloved betrothed coming back, some lies and deception, a near death, a journey by sea, and even a daring rescue from a dungeon.
Thrown in with all of this rollicking adventure are some incredible cliches and plain bad writing. This woman must have taken an English class sometime in the past, what ever happened to that old rule of using 'said'? What's wrong with a good old 'said'? On pages where more then two characters were speaking I was pulled out of the story with all of the instances where a word was used (asked, suggested, queried, etc) that would have been invisible as 'said'. Another of my largest pet peeves was the usage of the word 'spouse' where she must have meant 'husband', or 'wife', or another other romantic word. Because honestly, I never refer to my husband as my spouse. How formal that sounds! I would write it that way on government forms, not in a romance novel. She does it so often that it feels stiff and unnatural.
But even if I didn't have these (petty, to be sure, but I am a writer myself so I notice these things) complaints my largest disappointment would have been the plot. The old betrothed, the one that Madeline remembers so fondly (James), is portrayed in the worst light possible. Lazy, uncaring, and not even good at his chosen profession. This is because the new husband (Rhys) really has no chance against any serious competition... he's a traitor, a liar, a coward (running away from her family! To what end?), almost kills her and even tells her flat out that he'll cheat on her if she can't give him sons (which never really gets resolved, except for her fervent desire to have sons). I kept expecting each of these revelations to be much more serious than they ended up being. Relationship ending, huge arguments. But they both just kinda roll with it, James is dispatched without even a last scene to cushion the blow (he is simply banished from the plot), they dispatch the final bad guy, who is thrown in without warning in the last chapter, and live happily ever after.
Was it worth it? I would have to say no. It was confusing, nonsensical, and poorly executed. Sorry, Claire. You get good reviews anyway, somehow.
The next book I'm reviewing is going to be... huh. Well I guess the top selling free book on Amazon right now is a boxed set. The Sloane Monroe Series Boxed Set, by Cheryl Bradshaw. Mysteries! Hardened female investigator! Join me next Sunday when I'll at least have a review of the first book, BLACK DIAMOND DEATH, by Cheryl Bradshaw.