This review of THE LAIRD’S BRIDE was published in the the September issue of the Australian Romance Readers Association Magazine, and I was so pleased with it, I asked for permission to publish it here. (BTW if you’re in Australia, the Laird’s Bride has a 24 hour Kindle special price of $1.49 (normally $4.99) on Wednesday October 4th.)
I certainly didn’t read this short story in The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance when it first came out in 2011. How did that amazing book slip past my radar? Thankfully Anne Gracie has taken that short story and enlarged it into a longer novella. I’m delighted for an Anne Gracie fix while we wait for the next book in her Brides of Bellaire Gardens series (2024).
Cameron Fraser should be laird but isn’t—and won’t be for another five years. Until he’s thirty, or until he marries, his uncle is laird. Unfortunately, his uncle seems more interested in draping the castle with French silk than using that precious money to mend houses unroofed by a storm, and attending to the welfare of the tenants.
Infuriated by his uncle’s shortcomings, Cameron vows to marry the first eligible woman he meets, and so take his rightful place as laird to look after his people. And, be assured, Cameron always keeps his word.
When he does meet a woman, he thinks she’s a lad at first. She’s floundering through mud herding sheep, trying to rescue some that have fallen off the path into the boggy marsh. They’re both covered in mud from head to foot (of course he comes to help her, hero that he is) and in the ensuing melee he blurts out a proposal. Not the most romantic of moments, but to his astonishment she says Yes!
He doesn’t realise she’s living with her horrid grandfather and being treated as little more than a slave, starved, and worked to the bone. It takes her about two seconds to ask him a couple of questions—for example, does he have a house? (yes, cough, only it’s a castle), and then she sees Cameron as her ticket out of misery and servitude. Why not? she thinks. It can’t be worse than what she’s going through now.
They get married a couple of scant hours after they meet!
Oh, it’s such a delight to read this. Obviously, Jeannie and Cameron don’t know each other at all, and have married for wildly different reasons.
But the joy of discovering each other after the wedding, the delight, the falling in love, that’s the lovely touch Anne Gracie brings to this beautiful novella. The unexpected poetry, the gift of the blue shawl, everything will appeal to your tender heart. So, clear the afternoon, boil the kettle, and settle in to enjoy some swoony romantic Scottish moments.
Review by Malvina