The Rose Red Bride
Like a heroine in an ancient tale, Vivienne waited in the highest chamber of Kinfairlie's tower for her fated lover. In the darkness he came for her, cloaked and hooded so that she would not see his face. He loved her sweetly, thoroughly... and Vivienne knew she had met her destiny.
But in the morning light, her dream is shattered. Erik Sinclair of Blacklieth is no romantic hero but a disinherited warrior who arranged her abduction to regain his own legacy. Outraged by Erik's insistence that he needs her solely to beget a son, yet ensnared by the passion he awakens, Vivienne realizes that there is more merit in her taciturn spouse than he would admit. Erik is skeptical of her growing faith in his honor and her desire to recapture his stolen birthright... Little does he suspect that his rare gem of a bride intends to capture his barricaded heart as well. (from the back cover)
This book was my first Claire Delacroix book that I've read. I have to say that I enjoyed it greatly. It was a well-written, nicely paced, not-completely-predictable romance novel.
This novel was not the simple boy-meets-girl-they-fall-in-love novel. It was well-written with enough background to make those who want more than simple love story enjoy it. The novel was set in 1400s Scotland. Though I did not completely feel the setting, I did enjoy the setting as Delacroix presented it. The parts that seemed unrealistic to me - the family interactions, Vivienne's willingness to suddenly be in love with a complete stranger - were probably necessary for the plot to take place. So, if you simply read the novel for what it is, you can enjoy the romantic plot.
The characters were nicely developed - I connected with both of the main characters. I thoroughly enjoyed Vivienne, and I laughed a great deal at a small counter-story. Unlike some other reviews I've read, I did not find Vivienne weak-willed. Instead, I respected the character's desire to keep her word. She made a promise and she did everything within her power to see that she kept her word.
The main pet-peeve I had with this novel was the small input of fairies and such. I feel like a novel should either be set in reality or include fantasy - not be a bit of both. It made me a bit confused because I wasn't sure if the characters were kidding during part of it (joking about tales including fairies and such) and then Vivienne took it seriously. It took away from the story, in my book.
The other frustration I found was the way things were simply tied up in the end. It seemed that the entire novel was based around the idea that Erik needs an heir and then one small thing changes and the whole basis of the plot is taken away. It just made for too much of a pat-ending for me.
But ultimately, I was happy to find this novel a good read. The mixture of fantasy in the book kept it from being a 4 (and a favorite) in my book. But anyone who enjoys romance set in the past will love Delacroix's book. I was unaware that this was a series, but it stood well as a lone book. But the family atmosphere also makes me want to pick up the other books in the series. I would recommend this novel for anyone who loves romance novels and chick-lit.