Saturday, February 28, 2009

Review - The Bride

The Bride is February's book for Nath's Re-read Challenge. I had a poll posted on my sidebar and this one was the most popular, although it was a close race. The Bride was one of the first romance books I ever read and I just fell in love with it. I originally gave it a B+ rating. I went on to glom many of Julie Garwood's other books. After reading The Bride for a second time, I find that it just doesn't hold the same magic for me that it once did. I believe my tastes have evolved and what once worked for me doesn't now. I will try to explain in my review below.

Title: The Bride
Author: Julie Garwood
Publication Date: 2002
Genre: Medieval
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot

Alec Kincade is a very important Scottish laird. He has been ordered by his king to choose one of Baron Jamison's very English daughters. Alec immediately comes to the conclusion that Jamie, the Baron's youngest daughter is the prize out of all the sisters. He chooses her and sets back for Scotland right away. Jamie has a feisty spirit and is well matched with Alec. He has never had a woman look him in the eye, let alone stand up to him as Jamie does.

When I first read The Bride a few years ago, I was completely engrossed in Alec and Jamie's story. I very quickly read through the book almost non-stop, without any breaks. While with the second time it easily held my attention, I didn't read it with the same enthusiasm. I started noticing little things, negative things. I came to realize that Jamie and Alec are far too perfect and seem almost fairy-tale like. Jamie can do no wrong and everybody is easily captivated and won over by her. Alec is the epitome of patience and understanding. It bordered on syrupy, and overly sweet.

I realize that this can be appealing, especially as an escape from reality. Once upon a time, it did appeal to me. Now, however, I want a little bit more realistic characters in my story. I think I would categorize this book under a guilty pleasure read. A guilty pleasure read for me is defined as a book that creates an escape from reality. It's not a book that is a great literary masterpiece. It is just easy, mindless entertainment.

Other parts of the book I found humorous then and I still did this second time around. Jamie has a way of doing things a little differently than others. This leads to Alec's exasperation, but the reader will get a kick out of it. There is a villain in this story. It's laughably ridiculous. It's supposed to add tension, but the villain is cartoonish at best. The villain's part is small, so the annoyance is relatively minor.


nath said...

I never got into Julie Garwood. I wonder if her books suit new romance readers more... I also have to wonder if you would have felt the same way if you've re-read not long after your first read or this is really due to your taste changing :P

Great review though, Jill :D

Kris said...

I have not read any of her historicals, but I have heard great things about them. great review.

Kristie (J) said...

For me - and this is just me mind you - Julie Garwood is the standout author who doesn't stand the test of time. Now when I try and read any of her books - her heroines just come across at complete nitwits. I tried reading Honor's Splendor which at one time was my favourite Garwood book and I hated it. Now I'm scared to reread any more by her in case I have the same result!

Jill D. said...

Nath, Good question. I think I would have felt the same way even if I would have re-read this book sooner. Because when I was glomming her books, I started to see a pattern developing and then I stopped reading her books all together.

Kris, Thanks!

Kristie, I completely agree with you and nitwit is a good word to use :) Man, I thought I was going to get a lot of slack for posting this review! I don't think you should re-read any. I think you will be disappointed.

Bev(QB) said...

I have no doubt that, if I re-read some of the authors who were once auto-buys for me, I would be amazed that I ever liked them in the first place!

Jill D. said...

Bev, I know my tastes have definitely evolved. It will be interesting to see what books can stand the test of time.

Leslie said...

I did like the review and your reasons for the low grade made sense. I had Julie Garwood as one of my potential re-reads but now I'm scared. lol This is one of the things I was afraid would happen, so far I've been lucky and loved both books I've re-read. I wonder if I dare to re-read a Johanna Lindsey. All those over-the-top Fabio covers... *grin*

Kristie (J) said...

So far I've only reread books that I've read in the past few years. Next one I'm going to go way back - but it won't be Garwood ;-)

~ames~ said...

I found the same thing happened to me when I reread the Wedding a few years ago. I cut my romance teeth on Garwood and her historicals hold a special place in my heart. But rereading them, I notice the faults. So I haven't reread any in a while. LOL

Holly said...

I'm afraid to re-read her historicals now. I have serious concerns that they won't hold up. From the sounds of it, I'm right to stay away. Sorry it didn't hold up for you.

Jill D. said...

Leslie, I know your scared, but it is refreshing to see that one's own tastes can evolve. Hey, you never know, it may still remain a favorite. I'd love to see what you think of Joanna Lindsey. I loved Gentle Lover. I belive it was in her Mallory series. It's been a while so I could be totally off base with that title :)

Oooh Kristie, I am intrigued. I can't wait to find out what it is!!

Ames, I am glad it's not just me. I figured I was going to get a lot of slack for this semi-negative review. It's probably just better keeping the fondness of your memory :)

Holly, Yeah if I were you, I would just keep them as fond memories. But, if you are in the need of complete escapism, you might want to give it another try. Maybe... I can't guarantee anything at this point. Now that I think of it though, I might never be able to guarantee anything again as seeing how my tastes are always changing. Darn it!

Joyce said...


Julie Garwood will always hold a special place in my heart because it was her book The Wedding which pulled me into the romance genre. After reading that book, I went on to read her backlist and found some other books of her that I loved like The Gift, Ransom, Saving Grace, and The Secret. Although I did enjoy those books, I discovered her formula and saw the pattern she uses for her romance novels. After that, I went on and read other authors like Judith McNaught, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Susan Elizabeth Phillips among others. I felt that after being exposed to the writing of these authors, my tastes changed. So when I read Guardian Angel and Honour's Splendor last month, I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed JG's books before I discovered other authors. For me, the stories felt predictable and I felt no connection anymore to the hero, the heroine, and the entire story.

Jill D. said...

Hi Joyce! Yes, my reading experience is very similar to yours. The Bride was among the very first romance books I read. I am glad I had the chance to at least have read a few of Garwood's books and have had pleasant memories. I think I will just leave it at that.