Seducing a Scottish Bride
Divorced from reality, romance novels are fantasy novels by definition. Gorgeous, strong women with quirks instead of flaws and hunky, sensitive yet manly men hiding six-packs under nerdy glasses and three piece suits attract, repel, and then attract again in a frenzy of beautiful and expensive things and very detailed sex scenes. When I discovered Seducing a Scottish Bride had an explicit fantasy element, I was intrigued to see how the two similar genres might inform each other. I was also hoping for a good read. Neither hope was fulfilled. The story was simple: a young, headstrong woman from a Scottish highland tribe named Gelis McKenzie is brought to Castle Dare, a cursed castle owned by the Dare family, to marry the twice-widowed Ronan Dare, who is nicknamed the Raven. The death of his most recent wife in an accident Raven believes he caused, makes him reluctant to remarry. Attacks by the supernatural elements within the Castle and threats from the outside push the would-be lovers together until they admit their love and defeat the curse. Happy endings ensue.
Welfonder’s lack of knowledge about fantasy tropes, even those in the folklore she loves, is immediately apparent. Gelis possess a second sight that is ill-defined to an almost comical degree. She announces she inherited it from her mother just moments before she leaves for her marriage, and it reappears as only one other vision throughout the entire book. All of the characters seem to understand this, but she never gives the reader any explanation. The castle is a creepy, dark place, but Welfonder seems content to leave it at that. She never explores any of the potential supernatural aspects beyond the simple, giving the book the feeling of a Sci-Fi Channel movie. She gives the characters Scottish accents, but the phonetic spellings are poorly done, and detract more than inform the characters.
Welfonder’s love of Scotland shines through. She succeeds in instilling her vision of a place that is more of her imagination than fact, full of mystery and without flaw, into the novel. While I can’t recommend this novel without reservation, I commend Welfonder’s enthusiasm. Seducing a Scottish Bride is not an unpleasant read, but ultimately, it is not worth the time.