Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

I'm not sure what's happened to Lynsay Sands's writing lately, but it's not as good as it used to be. Maybe it's from spending too much time in her Argeneau paranormal series, but her last two historical romances just haven't measured up. The last one, Devil of the Highlands, lacked her trademark humor. Taming the Highland Bride lacks any hope of originality.

Merry Stewart has spent most of her adult life running her family's holdings and dealing with her drunken father and brothers. She's dreamed of escaping via marriage, but her betrothed has been off fighting the Crusades. And despite returning from the battlefield, he has yet to send for her. So when her family tells her she's been sent for, she's far from reluctant to leave. Until she discovers her betrothed completely inebriated--and it seems she's leaving one drunk-filled home for another.

Alexander d'Aumesbery is determined to prove to his wife that he is nothing like her family. That his inebriation upon her arrival was to dull the pain of a tooth extraction. But events, and a mysterious someone else, conspire against him. Making Merry convinced she has married a drunk and Alexander frustrated.There's nothing wrong with the characters in this novel. They're all well done. And Sands's humor is back. Take the scene where Merry first meets Alexander (who is drunk as a skunk on whiskey).

"Damn me. You're pretty. You don't look like a shrew."

But the plot of this book is just so horribly predictable. I felt a sense of deja vu on nearly every page. It was THAT formulaic.

  • The arranged betrothal and reluctance on the part of the groom to marry
  • The cut leg to fake a bedding on the wedding night
  • The journey to Alexander's sister fraught with multiple assassination attempts

None of which seemed terribly original to me.

Only Sands's very funny writing saved this from being a D or F. It's enjoyable for the smiles, but don't expect to be wowed by the plot or moved by the characters.

My Grade: C

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