Margo Maguire – “The Bride Hunt”

28 Nov

GENRE: Romance, Medieval
PUBLISHED: Avon Books, 2006

SERIES: not really, but it has a sequel, The Perfect Seduction

WHY THIS NOVEL: I read this post at The Good, The Bad & The Unread about three books available to read online at the Avon homepage and decided to take a look.

The back blurb:
“Lady Isabel Louvet is a woman of noble birth, wit, courage, and beauty. But though these qualities make her an excellent bride, they cannot save her when, on the night she was meant to choose a groom, wild Scottish brigands storm the walls of her father’s castle. As what should be a celebration turns to terror and bloodshed, Isabel is carried away from her family to be offered to a Scottish chieftain as a slave…or worse.
But unbeknownst to Isabel, she has a champion, a feared warrior and knight of legend named Anvrai d’Arques. His visage bears the scars of battle, but his heart remains pure in its devotion to country and king–that is, until he sets out to rescue Isabel. Her fierce spirit of survival stirs his passion more than combat ever could, and with her tough his world forever shifts. Now, with the Scottish on their heels and a country on the brink of war, they must go forth in battle together–to save themselves, to protect their countrymen, and to find a love that can set them both forever free.”

Out of the three books mentioned, I decided to read Margo Maguire’s The Bride Hunt because I hadn’t heard of this author yet and the novel took me back to my beginnings in reading romance: Scottish medievals/historicals.

The Bride Hunt is a solidly written beauty-and-the-beast story and also a road-romance. Some elements, like the quick recovery from severe wounds and the “hut in the storm” – a cave this time – seemed a bit too fairy-tale/romance conventional for me, but other than that, I was pulled in quite well by the story and didn’t care that I had to sit at the desk to read it.

Isabel is a beautiful and convent-raised young woman and Anvrai is a scarred and landless knight. They both have rather unfavorable first impression of the other because of their looks – Isabel thinks Anvrai a barbarian and Anvrai thinks Isabel shallow – but in the course of the story they come to see that sight can be deceiving (BTW, nice imagery going there). Much of the story takes place on the road after Isabel and Anvrai escape together with Roger, one of Isabel’s prospective grooms, from their Scottish abductors, so giving Anvrai and Isabel time to get to know the other better and see beneath the surface.

Isabel has no real understanding of what it means to live in the world outside the convent. As a storyteller, she uses stories as a guidance to view the world and other people. Her abduction confronts her harshly with reality and she slowly realizes that reality is often different from stories and dreams. The slow opening of her eyes and her realization of what makes a hero (even though the contrasting of the men was a bit too obvious IMO) was the best part of the story for me. There are some nice scenes describing Isabel’s growing awareness of Anvrai as a man. Isabel learns quite a bit about herself and life because everything she believed in gets questioned and turned on its head. But with all that uncertainty going on, Isabel is more and more certain of one thing: she wants Anvrai.

Anvrai on the other hand has good reason to stay away from Isabel. His sole possessions are a horse and his armor. Other than that, he has nothing to offer Isabel. His scars make him doubt his attractiveness to women; the eye-patch on the book cover is not there without a reason. He’s also severely troubled by something that made him reluctant to accept responsibility for someone else. So his gradual coming to care for Isabel despite all that, adding to his initial lusting after her, is rather touching to read about.

The Bride Hunt was a totally unplanned read and one I enjoyed more than I initially thought. I didn’t mind the hours I spent at my desk reading it and I already checked online for the sequel, The Perfect Seduction, the story of Isabel’s sister Kathryn. It’s now on my tbb-list.

I’m glad I decided to take a look.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? If I hadn’t read it online – probably yes.

Grade: 4 – / 5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: