What I'm about to say will upset and possibly infuriate some Julie Garwood fans. I cannot hold back. I'm sorry but I didn't like THE BRIDE. It was good, I guess. I wouldn't call it the worst book I've ever read. It clearly isn't a bad book. However, the love story didn't grab my heart strings; the hero didn't make my heart sing and the heroine was adorable, but not my cup of tea.
Why didn't I like THE BRIDE? The book garners praise after praise; its reviews are incredible. It is considered by most one of Garwood's best novels. I really believe the medieval setting has something to do with it. I don't care for it much. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that most didn't have privacy at that time; bathrooms didn't really exist and everything was anything but romantic. I know I know...I should probably just forget about that and enjoy the book, but I can't.
The whole Scottish clan talk and everyone declaring war for no reason and what not also grated on my nerves. I was bored by the quick fights taking place,by the fact that the heroine caused most of them and even by her healing abilities. A lot of it seemed predictable - the fact that the heroine would one day be loved and respected by her husband's Scottish kin (she is English) was obvious. I was annoyed by Mary, Jamie's sister; irritated by Jamie who took charge of everything.
I couldn't get close to the hero; he was strong and intelligent and he had a sense of humor but, somehow, I found him lacking. I did enjoy the scenes when he was wearing a kilt and showing off his hot muscular thighs (I enjoyed that a lot).
The big murder mystery was well written. I must admit I was surprised by the outcome. Normally I am able to guess the murderer and villain from the beginning. Garwood left me wondering until the last page.
The sex was hot, sweaty and...HOT! Again, I couldn't get over the fact that everyone could hear them have sex. That ruined it for me a little. I guess I wanted them to be surrounded by silk and satin (unrealistic, I know, but this is a frickin' romance novel).
The good sex and mystery weren't enough for me. A lot of the concepts were too archaic for my tastes; the heroine's immediate acceptance of her husband's dead wife's daughter for one didn't impress me as much as it probably should have. I never quite developed any affection for the characters and became easily irked by their every action.
I feel guilty for feeling this way; I can only hope that my experience with THE WEDDING will be different.