The Highlander’s Bride
Author: Amanda Forester
What I’m Talking About:
There are something like a million books out there (ok, I’m exaggerating, but there are a lot) that share the title or some variation of The Highlander’s Bride. We like our Scottish heroes and imagining what’s under—or not under—their kilts. Come on now, Gerard Butler? Richard Madden? Sam Heughan? Kevin McKidd? *fans herself* So highlanders and their stubborn brides abound. It’s almost its own genre. I admit that I didn’t expect much from Amanda Forester’s version of this historical romance category, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The Highlander’s Bride was, in a word, charming.
Our Highlander in this case is Sir Gavin Patrick. Think of Richard Madden now and sigh. Picture him as your personal guard, spending his every waking moment trying to protect and take care of you.
He is a knight of the highest moral character. His only flaw is that always doing the right thing often means he’s in the middle of conflict, trying to right wrongs, fulfill duty, and keep his word. In The Highlander’s Bride, Gavin’s duty is to see the Lady Marie Collette and her substantial dowry safely to Scotland and deliver her to the contractual fiancé her father has chosen for her. This is the entire plot of the book. You don’t need to read it to know what the main struggle is going to be. For its simplicity, I normally wouldn’t even consider handing out an A+ rating, but Forester surprised me. Gavin is only human, and the lengths to which he goes in trying to do the right thing made him entirely endearing. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but my favorite moment in this book involved rope and a cold, wet night. It was worthy of an award because in a predictable storyline, I didn’t see that particular moment coming.
It would be easy not to like Collette. She’s been raised as the daughter of nobility that she is, and she most definitely makes Gavin’s life difficult. However, Forester deftly justifies her words and behavior. She is a stubborn charge, but in the feisty, likable tradition of Maureen O’Hara, Sandra Bullock, and Julia Stiles. She was sympathetic, not whiny and annoying. With two such captivating main characters, I wanted to take the journey to Scotland with them.
It was a rocky journey with thieves, enemy soldiers, war lords, madams, orphans, ladies-in-waiting, and elaborate 14th century costumes. Still, it was more love story than rollicking adventure, more 1930’s old Hollywood, less Game of Thrones.
There is some sex along the way which is not overly graphic, for me it rated a two-and-a-half on a scale of one-to-five. It is, however, intense because of the circumstances and who these two characters want to be. There was nothing gratuitous and it felt appropriate to the storyline.
My only criticism is that a third point of view was introduced about a quarter of the way in, that of Pippa. Pippa is a seventeen year old orphan who has been in the suspect care of a whore house madam. Gavin rescues her from this situation and her perspective is oddly tossed in periodically to provide commentary on the star-crossed lovers. She doesn’t do much to move the plot forward, but rather is mostly along for the ride. She seemed out-of-place to me. Since this is book one in the series, I was hoping Forester intended to make her the focus of a future installment, justifying the inclusion of her POV, but her situation seems to be wrapped up and done much too abruptly right in the last chapter. She still could have a story going forward from that point, it would simply be unconventional. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s hope.
Is this an A+ written book? No. So why am I giving it an A+ rating? Perhaps it was timing—I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary and classics lately. I just really liked this book. I was charmed. Today is my birthday. Perhaps I’m feeling generous, but reading The Highlander’s Bride was a gift to myself. As we head into fall, this is definitely a sweet, rainy day read.
My Rating: A+ Personal Favorite
About the Book:
After years of fighting in France, Sir Gavin Patrick longs for his Scottish home and for an easier life off the battlefield. However, laden with a shipment of orphans, a massive treasure to transport, and Lady Marie Colette—a sharp-tongued French heiress—Gavin realizes that the real battle is only beginning. Colette expects a painless trip as Gavin transports her to her Highland fiancé, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn…
Forced to pose as a married couple in order to sneak out of France, Gavin and Colette fight against their developing, forbidden attraction…all the while yearning to fulfill their pent-up desire.
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Highland Trouble #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): paperback (384 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
The Highlander’s Bride (Highland Trouble #1)