Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: "Seducing a Scottish Bride"

Pages: 400
Summary (from B& Gelis MacKenzie is one of the most desirable heiresses in all the Western Highlands. She is the youngest and much adored daughter of the indomitable Black Stag of Kintail, Duncan MacKenzie, who was the hero of Welfonder's novel DEVIL IN A KILT. Unfortunately, Gelis has been branded unmarriageable, but not for lack of masculine interest. No matter how lofty the ancestry, how deep the purse, or how mighty the sword arm, nary a one of her suitors is good enough for her father. Although he loves Gelis fiercely and knows he must someday see her settled and wed, Duncan isn't quite ready to let her go.
But now Duncan has received an offer for Gelis's hand in marriage that he is honor-bound to accept-and it comes from the worst possible quarter. The suitor, Ronan MacRuari of Castle Dare, is the last man Duncan MacKenzie would wish for a son-in-law. Known as the Raven, Ronan is the scion of a dark clan that has been marked by a deadly curse.
Ronan and Gelis are instantly attracted to one another, but they are immediately estranged. Ronan's last two wives have died abruptly and he doesn't want to see his vivacious newly-wed Gelis suffer the same fate, so he distances himself from her as much as possible. In the meantime, Ronan searches for the Raven Stone, a fabled treasure that he believes holds the power of the curse over his clan. But Gelis has fallen in love with her new husband, and she's determined to help him. Though Ronan doesn't know it,Gelis also has the gift of second-sight, and she has seen a future in which she is destined to help redeem her cursed husband.
For months, I've seen posts and widgets about this particular book all over the web-- it seemed like everyone had it on their list of books they were waiting for. The cover caught my eye, and then the title, and by the time I got to the blurb/summary, I thought "This sounds like a good book-- I'll have to add it to my list as well!". Unfortunately, after all the hype, the months of waiting for it to come out, when my copy finally arrived a few weeks ago (Thanks to Hachette Book Group!), I never would have known that I would soon find myself a bit disappointed. I'd like to start out by saying that Seducing a Scottish Bride was not a terrible book, nor does it rate a 'Never Read This Book' tag, but, for me at least, it fell a bit short of expectations. That being said, I'll move on to trying to explain why this book was only mediocre. The story started out a bit slow--- not always a bad thing, I've seen plenty of books start that way and then pick up considerably, and by the end of the book, I have very few complaints about how it all started. But in this case, I didn't feel like the story ever reached the peak speed until it was too late, and the end was in sight, barely three or four chapters away. I feel ashamed to admit this, but there were many times in the book when I would merely glance at the page, skimming it, before flipping it. It just couldn't hold my attention, and I would sometimes end up flipping through 10 pages at a time before I'd stop and actually read it, word for word. It wasn't the writing itself, so I can't blame the author, but the interaction between characters and the plot line were not very concrete. Usually, if you skip that many pages in a book, you become lost. I didn't, or at least, not that I know of. I still kept up with the basic story. Again, I can't stress this enough-- this is all just my opinion, and I have to be honest! Please, don't try to take it as rude or insulting, I would never want it to sound like that. A story about feuding Scotland clans should be really interesting, right up my alley... right? So then why did this one fail to pull me in to the story? I honestly can't say... Nothing really stands out about it, good or bad. There were no red flags along the way that screamed "I hate this because.." but there were also no flags that said "Stop-- I loved it, go back and reread it!". I read the book, I finished it, and I can't say that I regretted it, but...I don't think it will be reread anytime soon either. Would I recommend it? Possibly. Depends on the particular reader, and it wouldn't be my first choice as recommendation, but it's definitely not on my 'never read this' list either. The easiest way to describe it is average. That makes it sound horrible, but I don't' know of any other way to say it. The romance between the two didn't seem to be there for most of the story-- again, not a bad thing, I've seen it happen before, but when it finally showed up, I kept thinking 'Where did it come from?'. Usually you can see the love evolving and building, but I can't really say that I saw it in this one. (Maybe I somehow missed it while flipping through the pages, but I don't think I could have skipped something that important...) It was like one moment they hated each other, didn't want to be married, and the next thing you know, they are living happily ever after. I just would have liked a bit more in between those two! Not just physically love, but all the little things that add up as well; conversations, glances, fleeting caresses, etc. 3/5 stars! It could have been better, but for what it was, Seducing a Scottish Bride wasn't half bad. It had it's moments where I got into the story, and there were a few tender 'awe' moments between the H/Hr, but over all it was lacking...something. I can't put my finger on what that 'something' is, I'm sorry, but I do know that it was missing. If you enjoy historical romances, put this one on your list anyway-- it was a fairly quick read, and some readers may fall in love with it from page one. I, however, only fell for it momentarily, and then it switched to 'I liked it'. Who knows-- I may change my mind later on, and I have her other books in my want to read list... maybe this book just wasn't the one for me, but one of her older ones could change my opinion. We'll have to see... Until Next Time, The Book Queen Image by Cool Text: Logo and Button Generator - Create Your Own


Anonymous said...

You know, everyone seems to be just so-so with this story. The cover is just so beautiful!!

Wonderful review, TBQ!!

The_Book_Queen said...

I know. And like I said, I honestly can't pin-point what it was that made it just 'so-so' for me.. I think it was a combination of everything. It was a nice enough book, but unfortunately nothing awe-inspiring. And the cover is lovely!

(SIGH) I hate writing negative or even neuteral reviews. It's hard to express your opinion without insulting the author or other readers who really liked the book.

Anonymous said...

I feel the sameway TBQ. That's why generally I won't post about a book I didn't like. I would love to become an actualy reviewer (who doesn't love free books!!!) but I don't know how to go about posting with regards to a book I didn't like. And it will happen.

I think you do a great job of staying neutral. Your reviews are done in a tasteful and respectful manner.

The_Book_Queen said...

If it wasn't for the fact that it was a book that I received from the publisher, I probably never would have posted a review... or at least, not on my blog. On B&N or Amazon or something like that, maybe, if I had the time and felt that I could still do the book and review justice though I didn't love it.

It's hard, and I try my best, but I think that authors, to a point, like to get the neuteral and occasional negative review. Now, don't get me wrong-- I'm not saying they LOVE them like a good positve review, and it all depends on how the neuteral/negative review is handled when it was written, but it may help them to remember that even though they try their hardest and they enjoy all the stories they write, there will be some readers that will never love it like they hope... Does that make sense?

You know, before I started my blog, I use to read other blogger's reviews and think 'Oh, that's easy! That's what I want to do in my free time-- write reviews about books for others to read. How hard can it be, right?'. Well, for the most part, it is 'easy' (Although sometimes blogger and computers malfunction and make the whole process a huge pain in the a$$! lol!).. that is, until you have to sit down and try to write a review about a book that you didn't particularly enjoy. It's not always simple, and I don't think it's the favorite part of reviewing for anyone...

Again, thank you for your kind words-- I try to keep them neutral, and I hope that I succeed... But sometimes, it is hard, and I've been tempted to just take the easy (and rude) way out and just write a big 'NEVER READ! This book is horrible' on the post and leave it at that. But, for one thing, that doesn't help to enlighten the readers about why it's "not" a book they should read, nor is it professional and I would hate to hurt anyone's feelings, especially if it happened to be an author that I usually love!

Reviewing... It's a tough job, but someone has to do it, right? ;)

Thanks for stopping by like this!


Amy C said...


You know, I can't say this was my most favorite book by Sue-Ellen, but what draws me to her books is knowing how much she loves the place she is writing about. I read and reviewed this the other day, and for me it is more than the romance, but the way she describes the place. I feel like I'm swept away :). I've read all her books and I get that same sense in each one :). I read different books for different reasons and hers are becasue I love Scotland. I love the bit of lore she adds to each book. And she's a nice lady to boot!

The_Book_Queen said...

Hi Amy!

I hope that I didn't offend anyone, fan or author, by my review and comments. Like I've said, it wasn't that the book was terrible, it just wasn't at the top of my list. I hate using the expression 'average' or 'in the middle' but that is about where this book stands for me. Don't get me wrong- I too enjoyed the setting and the fact that, like you said, she puts so much feeling and love into the books's settings. It does indeed make it very easy for the reader to picture a lot of the scenes! But even though that is a very good quality to have in your writting, and I enjoyed it, this book (who knows about future books I read of Sue-Ellen's) will probably still stay somewhere inbetween for me.

I've never met her or talked to her before, but I believe you when you say that she's a very nice lady, and I do not wish her ill. Nor do I want to insult her or her writting!

Thank you for stopping by, Amy. I appreciate it. :) I did read your review of the book when you posted it, and I thought you did a wonderful job. ;)

Have a great day!