the wrong bride book coverReviewed by Bethany Kelly

The Wrong Bride, written by Gayle Callen, is a novel focused around two feuding families: the McCallums and the Duffs. In this novel, Catriona “Riona” Duff is taken in the middle of the night by a Scot, Hugh McCallum, who claims that their marriage was arranged to one another as children to end feuding between the two families. However, what Hugh doesn’t know (but what Riona tries to tell him) is that he kidnapped the wrong bride.

Riona and her cousin, Catriona “Cat” Duff, have the same birth name – hence the reason behind the nicknames – and with Cat (Hugh’s true betrothed) being away, Riona is mistakenly taken. Although Riona tells this to Hugh, he believes that the Earl is just trying to trick the McCallums in order to get out of the contract made many years ago. This causes Hugh to start trying to seduce Riona to make her see that they can have a happy marriage even though it was arranged for them. Can two people who do not know one another fall in love? Can Riona develop loving feelings towards her captor?

I was a little wary when I saw that this book was labeled as being a historical romance novel, because some historical romances are hard to relate to and sometimes dry and weighed down with too many historical facts. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how The Wrong Bride turned out. I loved that Callen used the Scottish dialect throughout the novel. There were a few instances where a word was left out or a typo was made, but there weren’t any major grammatical or spelling errors. I also really liked reading the descriptions that Callen provided about the Scottish landscape and traditions.

I thought that Hugh’s courtship of Riona was romantic and sweet and in some instances very passionate. Callen also has a talent for making the characters relatable and real, as if they are real people and not characters in a book. Another aspect of the novel that I appreciated was having fleshed out supporting characters. Callen paid just as much attention to making the supporting characters seem real as she did the main characters.

I wasn’t fond of the book’s abrupt ending. Hugh’s seduction of Riona was slow and realistic, but instead of continuing with that in their journey to be with one another (instead of Hugh being with Cat), the resolution was way too easy, almost like Callen was running out of time to get the book done and just gave it a quick ending. I would say that if Callen would’ve extended the book another fifty or so pages to give the ending the length and attention that it needed, this book would’ve been a five star rating for me.

All in all, I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, The Groom Wore Plaid, set to come out in March of 2016.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Avon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.