The MacKinnon's Bride
The MacKinnon’s Bride begins with promise. It is reminiscent of Judith McNaught’s wonderful Kingdom of Dreams and Julie Garwood’s spectacular The Bride. Alas, while many of the components are in place to make this book a special read, the book’s promise is not kept.
As in Kingdom of Dreams, the heroine of this book is unwanted by her father and stolen away by an enemy. As in The Bride, the hero is a Scots laird accused of murdering his first wife. As in both books, the hero is a magnificent specimen; fearsome yet kind, handsome, loving, and a fine leader – a man among men.
As in Kingdom, the heroine is feisty almost to the point of shrewishness and, although beautiful, is not known for her beauty. As in Kingdom as well, the heroine struggles with an inferiority complex, having been raised by a father who does not love or respect her. This struggle is the focal point of The MacKinnon’s Bride.
It’s been some time since I read Kingdom of Dreams or The Bride, but both stories had me either LOL or reduced to tears. Both had me aching with desire. . . to read more books by their respective authors. This did not happen with The MacKinnon’s Bride. Was it all the Scottish brogue that turned me off? Was it all the self-flagellation of the heroine? Or was it the convoluted villainy that was both difficult to follow and hard to believe?
As I alluded to previously, so many components are in place to make this book a good read. There is humor, suspense, romance, strongly written lead characters, and an evil villain (or two). Both Iain and Page are afraid to love, but their desire for each other is apparent to all – except Page, who cannot fathom anyone wanting or loving her.
I enjoyed the relationship both Iain and Page had with Iain’s son Malcolm. The author effectively illustrates for Page that a loving relationship is possible between child and parent. Iain is allowed to see Page without her mask on – readers will be captivated by her singing Malcolm to sleep and will laugh at the scene when Malcolm “draws” for Page.
Iain is a better character than Page – not in how well he is written, but in how special a person he is. When he rails against Page’s father on her behalf, he is magnificent. His loving of her is very special, able to blossom amidst Page’s shrewishness and the villainous treachery that faces them.
The author uses both gentle doses of humor and actual slapstick to add another dimension to her writing. The image of a gigantic Scots scratching himself from fleas while waxing rhapsodic about his dog, along with the good-natured camaraderie of Iain and his men coping with the unexpected on their journey, was delightful. If only Page weren’t such a shrewish, negative wench!
Readers will fall in love with Iain immediately but may wonder what he loves about Page. Yes, she does connect with his son. Yes, she has a reason for being unlovable. Yes, they were both raised without mothers. But other than their incredibly strong physical attraction, I wondered whether his love for her was based more on pity and his capacity for love than for Page herself.
Finally, I am always bothered by declarations of love at the end of a book. It’s okay for a lead character not to verbally admit to his/her love, but they should admit it to themselves or it should be obvious to the other character before the last pages of a book. Not so in this book. And when they finally admitted the truth, both to themselves, and each other, it was too little too late.