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The Beauty Bride (The Jewels of Kinfairlie)
More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest may fight for their love...The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.
Lady Madelineâ€s heart is not for sale...especially not to a notorious outlaw like Rhys FitzHenry. Yet Madelineâ€s hand has been sold, to none other than this battle-weary warrior with a price on his head. A more dutiful maiden might cede to the Lairdâ€s command and meekly accept her fate, but Madeline has never been obedient. She decides to run away, though she never dreams that Rhys will pursue her. She does not expect this taciturn man to woo her with fanciful stories, much less that each of his enthralling tales will reveal a scar upon his shielded soul. She never imagines that a man like Rhys could imperil her own heart while revealing so little of his own feelings. When Rhysâ€s past threatens his future, Madeline takes a leap of faith. She dares to believe him innocent
â€” and risks her own life to pursue a passion more priceless than the rarest gem.
This version includes excerpts from THE ROSE RED BRIDE and KISS OF FIRE.
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Average Customer Review:
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41 of 44 found the following review helpful:
A Fun historical romanceDec 11, 2004
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.
20 of 21 found the following review helpful:
Sensational Start of New SeriesDec 28, 2004
By M. Rondeau
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 www.historicalromancewriters.com ---
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Not badJun 16, 2012
By Frags McFraggle
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).
11 of 12 found the following review helpful:
Excellent read, could not put downMay 26, 2012
By Rene Maloon
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.
13 of 16 found the following review helpful:
Formulaic.May 27, 2012
By Lee Shelly Allen
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.
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