The Beast's Bride*
A Kind Man Amongst Brutes & Lechers
Rhona—daughter of the chief of Clan MacLeod—does not wish to marry at all ever, but her father insists that it is her turn. After embarrassing her father in front of another clan leader, who was hoping to make her his next wife, her father decides to hold a competition, and the winner will become her husband. Her father’s strongest warrior and protector, Taran, has held a tendre for her for a long time, but because of his facial scarring, he believes that she would never consent to be his wife. Though Taran doesn’t want to compete at first, he decides to enter the games as he doesn’t want to see her with another man.
Rhona is a delightfully headstrong heroine to watch; I so wanted her to be able to get away from it all! You can understand why she doesn’t want to marry with the examples of men she has around her. She definitely has her own mind about things, and her father does not like that at all. Taran has long been her friend, teaching her swordplay when she was younger, and in fact, the reader first meets him when he is rescuing Rhona from a lascivious, dangerous suitor. I like that Taran is tough, but he is still vulnerable in his feelings for Rhona. I don’t want to give too much away, but he handled their forced marriage in true, swoonworthy hero fashion.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book was how awful the men were (except for Taran) and how meek the women were. The men were all brutes and lechers. Rhona’s father is ghastly, unwilling to protect his maiden daughter from a son-in-law who seemed to want to ruin her, preferring to believe that his actions were the girl’s fault. The married women had no backbone and just accepted the harsh treatment by their husbands as the norm.