Monday, February 25, 2013

Book review: The Wedding by Julie Garwood

**Comfort Classics**

The Wedding (Lairds' Fiancées #2) by Julie Garwood
Historical romance*Mass Market Paperback & e-book, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1996)

It's a classic plot: a marriage of convenience that lays the groundwork for true love. 

1119. Journeying from England to Scotland to wed a highlander, Lady Brenna had resigned herself to the arranged match. But when a band of fierce, painted warriors captured her en route, she fearlessly met their demand to marry their leader -- the quick-tempered laird Connor MacAlister. She couldn't know that her capture was merely the first act of vengeance against her betrothed, Connor's sworn enemy.

Brenna harbored no illusions that her husband was in love with her; after a hasty forest wedding, MacAlister assured her she could return home once she had borne him a son. But she could not deny that she had once proposed to MacAlister -- ten years ago, when she was just a child, and the visitor to her father's castle charmed her with his dazzling, unexpected smile. Now, as she sets out to win the brave chieftain whom she has come to adore, a legacy of revenge ensnares Brenna in a furious clan war -- and only her faith in her gallant hero can save her....

I have made a mental note to not read two romance novels by the same author in one day. The Wedding is the second Garwood romance I breezed through in one afternoon and it was an okay read. I didn't get a feel for the characters, even though I did like secondary characters Alec and Jaime more than the main couple. Heroine Brenna came across as the typical flighty female we find in lite-romances and Connor is the typical tough warrior who can't afford to love another. As a couple they didn't mesh and in some scenes they came across as awkward. The story itself held a lot of promise but was lacking in action. The one scene I really liked was when Connor rode his horse back through his homeland so he could kiss Brenna goodbye (after she had admonished him for not saying goodbye and then crying). 

Every good romance needs a bad guy and Raen fell flat. The one instance when I wanted to see some action and feel some tension,it never happened. Again, another supposed "climatic" scene was just the opposite. I don't want to see what happens afterwards, show me what occurs during the scene. For a third person pov, I found myself skimming sections because I thought Brenna's thoughts had already been expressed. I don't have patience for overkill of emotions, especially in a main character I'm supposed to like. I didn't like Brenna much. Her clumsy ways, so-called feisty attitude and determination to do things her way proved she was incapable of doing a lot correctly. Connor became a better character halfway through. His brutish caveman ways in the beginning got on my nerves and the entire scene where he and his gang of warriors take Brenna away was muddled and long-winded. 

The story  picked up for me halfway through but I was still annoyed by Brenna's lack of backbone, especially when it came to standing up to Connor's stepmother. What was the deal with this woman not showing up for 17 years and then she does? That didn't raise any flags for these people? Connor's brother, Alec, and his wife, Jaime added a spark in an otherwise spark-less story. The love scenes made me want to laugh or skim past them in parts. Connor and Brenna didn't connect as a couple for me and since I've seen this copycat formula in other novels, I expected better. The ending scene went on for too long and sounded like the springboard for another story.

Overall, for a Julie Garwood romance and part of a series, I was not stoked by The Wedding. This is one RSVP I should have checked off as "not attending."

Rating: 2.5

Cover comment: Nice castle but I know it's not Connor's castle. From Brenna's description and her dislike of it, I wonder what property this is supposed to symbolize.

Book source: Owned.

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