His Bride, by Gayle Callen

>> Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I read my first Gayle Callen, His Scandal, last summer. That was the second book in a trilogy, and the one I read last week, His Bride (read an excerpt), is the third.

Gwyneth Hall has heard the dark rumors about Sir Edmund Blackwell, the man she is betrothed to but has never seen. To save her penniless
family from ruin, however, she would wed the devil himself. And this gorgeous, moody "devil" sends a tremor of excitement racing through her when they first meet--sparking the young bride's determination to turn a marriage of mere convenience into much more.

Edmund dares never love again. Already wicked tongues falsely blame him for a crime he didn't commit. And while his exquisite new bride fills him with intense desire, their union is simply a means for him to retain his hard-won lands. Gwyneth is, after all, related to his despised enemy and therefore not to be trusted. But how long can Edmund resist the temptation of her luscious lips...or her warm sensuous touch?
There were many things I liked here, but I did have a few problems. Still, what was good was good enough for me to give this a B- grade.

The best thing was how there were no distractions from the hero and heroine and their relationship. The focus was completely on them, because what passed for a suspense subplot was so slight as to be insubstantial.

I also enjoyed the hero and the setting. Edmund was a nice guy, a man who wasn't refined and felt a little insecure about whether he'd appeal to the heroine. He'd had a horrid first wife, and, given the very typical "my first wife was a whore, so now I despise all women" idiots which about in romance, I'll give
Edmund extra points for not taking this attitud and always being nice to Gwyneth.

As for the setting, this took place in a country estate, far from London, in Elizabethan England. Made for a nice change!

And now for what didn't work so well. First of all, I wasn't too crazy about Gwyneth. A bit too perky and gratingly innocent and naive. And I was utterly creeped out by all the emphasis on her tinyness and the contrast to Edmund's hugeness.

Also, what there was of a suspense subplot didn't make any sense. I still don't understand what the villains were trying to do!

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