38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2012
I enjoyed this story for the most part. The lowered rating is due to (a few, but very noticeable) grammar issues and a few plot holes/unresolved dilemmas, with an Other Man who is pure foil. It is also very formulaic, but that's not here nor there.
-Roguish H and non-quivering h
-Stories within Stories (H is a story-teller who tells many stories)
-Engaging story itself
-Good writing style for the most part (not the whole part, sadly).
-Can easily be standalone. Though the sampling shown of the second book is a very horrid cliffhanger!
Some things that I had issues with:
* numerous errors - missing words, wrong words used, messy punctuation. For the most part it didn't interfere with the story, but it did trip me up quite a bit. (Location 3138- "He a deliberate glance over the contents of..." or Loc 3931, "'...prefer not to be seen,' Madeline concluded, no censure in her town.") I've never felt a need to start highlighting so much. There are more, but those are just to show how it can break you from the book.
* Author changing sporadically from third person into 2nd person POV. Yes, second person. Where the audience is being actively spoken to by the author. Perhaps this is intended to make it seem as if the author is telling a tale like Rhys does, but it just isn't appreciated by this reader nor does it add a homey/earthy tone to the story. Of course this only happens when she's talking about fairies or spriggens.
* fairies and spriggens. Just seemed kinda ... pointless. The bit about the ribbons was interesting, but eh, still kinda made it lame. Wasn't really a fairy story and yet it tries so hard to be. To the point of it taking away from the story.
* Unrealistic characterizations: The sisters at the wedding feast, eager to sell h's most intimate secrets for a laugh, completely trusting a stranger they'd just been terrified of a few hours earlier. The brother being well-loved and forgiven no matter how much of a ____ he is. The H never making concessions and the h accepting it all. He showeth her much scorn but she hath not much fury. An Uncle who goes from not caring what people think of him to being a complete prude suddenly.
* no resolutions on a half dozen of the H's boorish/trollish statements. "If you don't want me to cheat on you, then you better give me a male heir." Heroine than screams and rants and then says "You're absolutely right. Let's get jiggy." It's not so much that it's a different culture he comes from or (blahblahblah whatever justification he gives) as much as I felt she should stick to her guns on the matter. Until he ceded the principle at the least. As opposed to "I'm gonna love doing it too!" maybe he would say "It is regrettable that I may need to boink someone else if you hit menopause before giving me a boy child. I assure you I will find no joy in the matter SHOULD IT HAPPEN, GD FORBID, and will even let you pick her out so that you know she will truly mean nothing to me." (Yes, I get that he was born to someone other than his father's wife and everything, but again, cede the principle if you claim to love her so much and don't want to lose her!). There are other trollish things he says, but that really bugged me. Le Scoundrel!
* The whole bit with Rosemunde and her (foster?)brother. *minor spoiler* Just didn't make sense about the whole cheating her out of her inheritance thing and is she a pirate? Why would her parents let her be a pirate? They did adopt her, right? Just confusing and the way it was resolved was rather unsettling.
* The brother is a piece of *censored* and yet they keep loving and forgiving him and thinking so highly of him even when he arranges for one sister to be auctioned and *MAJOR SPOILER FOR SECOND BOOK?* his second sister to be raped in her sleep i.e. have a disfigured exboyfriend sneak into her room without her knowledge/consent and have sex with her so she'll be forced to marry him. This is only because he's not allowed to auction his sisters off anymore. *END SPOILER*
Some loose ends, grammar issues, unrealistic behaviors (everyone is ultra forgiving and accepting of everything right away). Traditional Romance, if formulaic. Engaging and fun to read (for the most part).
57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
THE BEAUTY BRIDE by Claire Delacroix
December 11, 2004
COURTESY OF [...]
What can a man do to marry his oldest sister off in a hurry? In THE BEAUTY BRIDE by Claire Delacroix, the reader will find out one method: by auction. Alexander has become the Laird of Kinfairlie, due to the unexpected death of both parents, and one of his duties as head of the family is to make sure each of his five sisters is betrothed and married off at the proper age. Unfortunately, Madeleine, the oldest at 23, refuses to commit to anyone, since the love of her life, James, has been killed. And, with Madeleine not ready to wed, the other four sisters must wait their turn. Alexander has tried everything, but she refuses to cooperate, so he tricks her into attending the auction held at their estate, with the prime catches of the day bidding upon this fair maiden, who will soon be considered an old maid.
What Alexander has not counted on is the appearance of Rhys FitzHenry, who is wanted for treason. Furthermore, Rhys decides to bid on Madeleine, and with his seemingly unlimited supply of coin, he wins, to the horror of Alexander. Rhys does have an ulterior motive. He believes that Madeleine is the long lost heir to his family's land. With him wed to his "cousin", the land will be secured under his name.
Madeleine is outraged by the entire concept of this auction. Alexander has been known to be the king of pranksters but this was the ultimate insult. She runs away that night, the night of her nuptials, and lucky for her, Rhys anticipates her actions. He saves her from being raped by someone she thought she could trust, and from there, their adventures take off.
This reviewer enjoyed the adventures of Madeleine and Rhys in THE BEAUTY BRIDE. Historical romances are a very specialized sub-genre, but this novel was so well done that it is possible that any fan of the romance novel will enjoy it. There is humor, adventure, as well as love in this well-written book. The characters are likeable and believable, the dialogue is realistic, and although one cannot exactly duplicate the English of the 1400's, Delacroix wrote the novel in such a way that will take the reader back in time and believe they are truly there. A touch of fantasy inhabits this novel, with one of the sister's ability to see Fairies, but it is done in such a humorous way that the reader will buy into it. This is the first in a three part series, and this reviewer is looking forward to the next two books.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Setting - Kinfarlie Castle, Scotland, 1421 --- With a depleted treasury and forecasts of a bad harvest, Alexander, the new laird of Kinfarlie was in a quandry. He had five sisters and the eldest, Madeline, refused to marry. Discussing his problem with his cousin, they come up with the plan to `auction off' the `jewel' of Kinfarlie - namely Madeline. The auction, to take place at his Uncle's nearby keep of Ravensmuir, would be offered only to the worthiest of men whom Alexander knew would be good to his sister. Naturally, Alex kept this plan a secret until Madeline walked into the hall and the bidding took place! Furious, Madeline couldn't stop the auction. Although in shock, she bravely faced this humiliation -thinking it an ill-conceived prank by her brother. When the purported outlaw and traitor, Rhys FitzHenry won her hand, she even endured his claiming kiss, which shook her to her very core. But, no matter - never the obedient child - she wasn't about to stick around for the wedding.
The night before the wedding she ran away, never believing that Rhys would pursue her. But, as her hastily, ill-planned escape progressed, she was very glad he did as he came to her rescue. Contrite, Madeline was now fairly resolved to her fate and open to taking a chance with the enigma that would soon be her husband as they traveled to a nearby abbey to be married. Rhys consummated their union into a sensual dance of physical passion that convinced Madeline to work at making this a real marriage as she was determined do all in her power to discover his secrets, and in spite of his reticence, Madeline began to lose her heart.
Rhys, continued substituting folk tales in answer to her many questions until he realized that he had, of all things, fallen in love with his courageous wife. Rhys knew she might soon discover the true reason for his mad dash to Wales and he decided to be honest by answering all of her questions. He knew that she might end up hating him but loving her as he did, he would forfeit his own happiness for her.
In this first novel of Ms. Delacroix's brand new trilogy, the Jewels of Kinfarlie, I found an exciting action tale fully packed with an assortment of well-defined forceful characters, both old and new. Along with the wonderfully strong and engaging protagonists, Madeline and Rhys, I enjoyed the highly mischievous little fairy spriggan, Darg, and Madeline's youngest sister Elizabeth, who was the only person able to both see and communicate with the spriggan. AND, I certainly will be anxious to see what I hope will be a future confrontation between Tynan and Rosamunde - boy does he deserve a swift kick! BOTTOM LINE - This is a prime example of the highly imaginative and entertaining novels Delacroix is celebrated for in a stellar start to what looks to be a sensational new medieval series that is heading straight for my `keeper shelf'!. ---- Marilyn Rondeau, for [...] ---
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2012
I read this a couple of days ago and I didn't make any notes while reading, which I now regret. Oh well. Sorry!
I remember enough of it anyway. This book (THE BEAUTY BRIDE - by Claire Delacroix) was so formulaic that you probably needn't bother reading much past the first few chapters, where all of the characters are introduced, but I did anyway.
Sure, it was entertaining. I read the whole book, didn't I? But I'm blessed with fast reading speed, and I believe I read the whole thing in one or two sittings. Even with the entertainment factor, the book was uninspired and the writing tepid, at best.
The narrative follows Madeline and Rhys, one either Irish or Scottish and the other Welsh. I never could figure out exactly what she was supposed to be, but it didn't really matter too much. Her hand is auctioned off by her brother, who needs the money for something, and this... Welshman? Is that a word? Well, he buys it. We have an escape from her terrible fate, a near rape, a fairy, her old beloved betrothed coming back, some lies and deception, a near death, a journey by sea, and even a daring rescue from a dungeon.
Thrown in with all of this rollicking adventure are some incredible cliches and plain bad writing. This woman must have taken an English class sometime in the past, what ever happened to that old rule of using 'said'? What's wrong with a good old 'said'? On pages where more then two characters were speaking I was pulled out of the story with all of the instances where a word was used (asked, suggested, queried, etc) that would have been invisible as 'said'. Another of my largest pet peeves was the usage of the word 'spouse' where she must have meant 'husband', or 'wife', or another other romantic word. Because honestly, I never refer to my husband as my spouse. How formal that sounds! I would write it that way on government forms, not in a romance novel. She does it so often that it feels stiff and unnatural.
But even if I didn't have these (petty, to be sure, but I am a writer myself so I notice these things) complaints my largest disappointment would have been the plot. The old betrothed, the one that Madeline remembers so fondly (James), is portrayed in the worst light possible. Lazy, uncaring, and not even good at his chosen profession. This is because the new husband (Rhys) really has no chance against any serious competition... he's a traitor, a liar, a coward (running away from her family! To what end?), almost kills her and even tells her flat out that he'll cheat on her if she can't give him sons (which never really gets resolved, except for her fervent desire to have sons). I kept expecting each of these revelations to be much more serious than they ended up being. Relationship ending, huge arguments. But they both just kinda roll with it, James is dispatched without even a last scene to cushion the blow (he is simply banished from the plot), they dispatch the final bad guy, who is thrown in without warning in the last chapter, and live happily ever after.
Was it worth it? I would have to say no. It was confusing, nonsensical, and poorly executed. Sorry, Claire. You get good reviews anyway, somehow.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
This book did not make sense. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The whole premise of the family chasing after the couple is nonsensical and ahistorical. First, didn't anyone at the abbey tell the family that the couple married and had consummated the marriage? If so, why the heck where they chasing them, especially with the ole fiance. Second, even if no one informed the family of the marriage, the woman would have been ruined having spent so much time in the company of a man . . . alone! These facts alone, should have stopped the search once the family realized that the two were together.
Third, the family sends two women unaccustomed to such to search for the missing sister. Seriously? Who would send a child on a mission like that? What would be the point? And what purpose does it serve to send the 2nd oldest daughter? None. The idea that two untried, young riders are merrily chasing after the oldest sister with no mention of fatigue or mishap or anything else was just nuts.
This was a lightweight book. No logic to the story. You have to suspend not only belief but also common sense. At least it was free.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
I could not put this down, I read into the night (while hubby watched his "boob tube"). This is so well written and much more than "just" a romance story. The author has done her research as well as captured the heart. there is intrique and adventure as well as flavor of the era. I am hungry to read more of 'Jewels of Kinfairlie". The characters all invite to read more of their stories. I may have to read it again it was so well done.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2013
I love a more traditional highlander type romance novel. This one just wasn't for me. Fairies in caves and forgotten treasure may be what u enjoy, so definitely check it out if u can get it for free.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2014
4 Stars = I Like It
When I read a romance I do so with a grain of salt. I don't much care if there's complete plausibility to the plot. I am looking for character, relationship and plot developement. I will often overlook grammatical and spelling errors unless they truly distract from my ability to grasp what the author is trying to convey. I will usually read between the lines drawing from my own understanding of people an relationships and fill in blanks. I try not to judge the characters in themselves, but I may see when an author missed the boat in giving the character the shine.
So with that in mind I will say I was able to read this story with ease. I enjoyed it through out. I was immersed in the 15th Century world the Author created for me. It's accuracy wasn't something I was concerned with, I am not well acquainted with this time period. The language set the feel for the story, and I was thankful for the lack of modernisms and familiar speech. I really enjoyed the tales Rhys told. But I felt Rhys was somewhat a conundrum, on one hand he was considerate and concerned for Madaline even in the beginning, but he was determined to marry her and deceive her for his own ends. He was true to a man of his time and upbringing to value the begetting of sons legitimately or not over that of monogamy. Something that harkens even to Biblical times with Abraham's wife giving over her slave girl to him when she was evidently barren. This doesn't become resolved in the story because it would be more implausible for a man of this time to change his deeply ingrained belief system and understanding of love especially in the time given to do so in the story.
It's free on Kindle at the time of my review and I recommend it as a light intimate romance read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
The Beauty Bride is the first in The Brides of Kinfarlie Series and yes it is a reprint but if you haven't had a chance to read this series or this author give it a try. Claire Delacroix has long been a favorite of mine, although lately she has been sneaking around as Deborah Cooke and writing some wonderful Dragon Stories.. but Beauty is pure Claire. Intricate, interesting, detailed, sensual, simply divine.
The new Laird of Kinfarlie has all sorts of troubles, first off winter is not that far off and he just can't imagine how he is going to be able to feed his family.. and he has not 1, not 2 not 3, not 4 but FIVE sisters to marry off.. and none of them will marry before the eldest and she is just not willing. Head in hands not sure what to do, he decides to auction of the Jewel of Kinfarlie in a private auction. Of course he doesn't bother to tell any of his sisters about this. One would think this would be bad enough but once they get to their uncle's keep, the youngest sister, Elizabeth starts seeing fairies. An ugly, malicious faerie, determined to cause as much mischief as possible.
Lady Madeline is on pissed off sister. To think not only is her brother auctioning her off, yes that's right auctioning her off but it's at her Uncle's Keep and both her aunt and uncle are involved.. Determined to not be sold as cattle or chattel she tries to devise a means of escape.. Finally leaving the keep in the dead of the night with only one guard for protection she is off. Of course said guard is not there to guard her...
Rhys FitzHenry, the bastard son of a Welsh lord branded a traitor to the crown, is determined to gain title to his home. Thinking that Madeline is in actuality the long lost child of the missing heir he determines to purchase her, marry her and claim his castle. Easy Peasy.. *rolls eyes* Men really can be clueless. Sure he buys his bride, but before he can even think of marrying her he must track her down. Saving her from being raped isn't enough now he must find the quickest way to marry her and get them to Welsh soil.
You have to feel for Rhys, this man faces ridiculous obstacles, a recalcitrant bride, a greedy aunt who wants to gain Madeline's bride price as a dower for her abby, family hunting them down and a former fiance say, the love of Madeline's life back from the dead.. On the run from just about everyone these two meet as equals in their marriage and learn just what a real marriage consists of. Working together to survive seems to be the perfect environment for a couple to bond. To discover just what real love can be..
I am so glad to see this series in reprint and am looking forward to reading the entire series and can't wait until the continuation series begins next spring..
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
The Beauty Bride is the first in The Jewels of Kinfarlie Series and it is simply one of the best historical romance stories I've read or listened to in many years (not an easy feat considering I average about 100 books a year!). It's an enchanting story set in Medieval Scotland and Wales.
The story centers around Madeline, who at 26 years old is yet unmarried with no intension of doing so anytime soon. The new Laird of Kinfarlie, her younger brother Alexander, is desperate to marry her off (and four other younger sisters) due to the estate's meager financial situation and disastrous harvest. Alexander and his uncle devise a scheme to auction off "The Jewel of Kinfarlie" to the highest bidder from among the Scottish noble without letting Madeline or her sisters know about it. At the auction, everyone is outbid by Rhys FitzHenry, a Welshman known for being a traitor of the king. Rather than be intimidated by Madeline's outspokenness, Rhys admires her feisty nature and indomitable spirit.
The rest of the story focuses on Rhys and Madeline's journey to their new home in Wales. They face many obstacles before arriving: a runaway bride who faces a would-be rapist, a greedy aunt who wants Madeline to join the abby, family hunting them down (Alexander regrets selling her and wants to give Rhys back the money), a former fiancé who wants to marry Madeline, and bandits who want to kill them and overtake Rhys's estate.
Saskia Maarleveld’s narration is magical. She gives each character their own distinct voice and has appropriate tones for differing emotions. My favorite was her characterization of Rhys, with his Welsh accent and rhythm for each of his enchanting stories. Outstanding!