MacGregor’s Bride
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By all accounts, MacGregor’s Bride should be a good book. It has decent love scenes, lots of adventure, and a happy ending. I really wanted to like this book, too—because I love the area of the country in which it’s set. But, unfortunately, the book simply fails to deliver.

The year is 1813, and Lydia Masters is living in New London, Connecticut, where her husband is a sea captain. We learn early on that all was not well within the Masters’ marriage, so it comes as no surprise that Lydia is less than heartbroken when she learns that her husband and his ship are lost at sea. Bruce MacGregor, Lydia’s late husband’s partner, delivers the news, and he’s immediately taken with the newly widowed woman. MacGregor, also a sea captain and (we learn later) a privateer, is a widower himself, having lost his wife and twin daughters in a house fire a few years before.

  
 
Lydia finds herself drowning in her late husband’s debt, so she agrees to marry MacGregor, in a somewhat silly and unbelievable type of wedding. There’s the requisite lack of trust and tension among the newlyweds. Bruce is hurt that Lydia married him simply to alleviate her debts, and he also harbors a suspicion that she’s a British sympathizer. But they soon forge a tentative peace and naturally fall in love. Lydia realizes she’s pregnant just as she hears that the British captured Bruce—but that doesn’t stop her from traveling all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to rescue him.

My first complaint with this book is with Bruce. I got the feeling that Dan couldn’t decide if she wanted to write a novel set in Scotland or America, so she met in the middle and created a Scot living in America. I don’t have a problem with Bruce being an immigrant (after all, America was still in its infancy in 1813, so basically everyone was from somewhere else), but she makes no reference to his native Scotland at all, other than to bring up his “lilting brogue.”

I also had a problem with the geography of the novel. Dan mentions an innumerable amount of towns and ports, and unless you’re familiar with the coastal northeast, the reader could easily get lost. For instance, MacGregor’s business partner references his “house on Montauk Point.” My family vacationed at Montauk Point for years when I was growing up, so I’m familiar with the town, but I had no idea that it was close enough to New London to commute back and forth. I think a map of the region in the beginning of the novel would have helped immensely.

And of course, I can’t forget the love scenes. They’re nice and long—and rather steamy—but the dialogue is so corny that I just couldn’t get past it. For example, Lydia begs, “Oh Bruce! Give it to me, hot, hot, hot!” And in another scene, we read “his hands beckoned her own toward rapture, and at last, she came in awe to the totem wherein lay all the mysteries of creation and joyous enchantment.” I mean, really, give me a break! At the same time, though, I also had a problem with the more mundane conversations. Often, Dan uses phrases and words that are far too colloquial and modern to have been in use during 1813.

Despite my high hopes for this book, MacGregor’s Bride turned out to be a serviceable, yet thoroughly forgettable, romance novel. I doubt I’ll be reading it again.

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