March 3, 2014

Book Review: The Bride Says Maybe by Cathy Maxwell

At First Sight: Lady Tara was once the Belle of the Season, but a few scandals later - and the eventual marriage of her older sister to Tara's erstwhile fiancĂ© - Tara is no longer the Toast of London, and instead she has found herself betrothed to Breccan Campbell, known in Tara's town as the Beast of Aberfeldy. 

Tara isn't happy about this, in fact she's a bit shocked that her father would just promise her to a man such as Breccan... until she realizes that Breccan may very well be her ticket out of the valley and back to London. 

Breccan doesn't really know Tara well, but he is quite taken with her beauty, marrying her was a completely impulsive act on his part, but he's determined to make it work with her... though the scandals of her past aren't far behind. 

Second Glance: I kept this summary a bit vague because I don't know how much to reveal, given that this is the second book of the series and that, well, there just isn't much conflict here, so I feel like if I reveal a bit of it, I've said it all.

That lack of conflict is actually one of the two big problems I had with this book. Tara and Breccan marry as strangers, but there is actually very little in their way to be happy, there are no big external conflicts, or obstacles. It's basically up to them to decide to be happy, and as such, this is a book where there is little character growth and progress.

However, on the other hand, we have Tara, whom we got to know pretty well during The Bride Says No, and  between the ending of that book and this one it seems like Tara went through a personality transplant. In the first book Tara was pretty selfish, unlikable and unkind. In The Bride Says Maybe, those traits are almost gone or toned down enough that they don't factor much, and you never see her get to point A to point B.

(Although, there is this point in the book where she overreacts to something Breccan's dogs do that set my teeth on edge)

The rest of the characters and plots are Ok enough, I really enjoy Ms. Maxwell's writing and she can turn out a charming book as well as anyone, but the incongruences between the first book and this second kept me from enjoying the book as much as I could have.

Bottom Line: The Bride Says Maybe is a charming book, really, but it also sometimes reads like a novella, rather than a full length novel - particularly in the developing and layering of Tara and Breccan - other than that is pretty sweet, though I think it might be more enjoyable if you read it before reading The Bride Says No. But, all in all, I'm looking forward to The Groom Says Yes, last book of the series. 

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