The Night Before The Wedding by Debra Mullins
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 1st 2008
Genres: Historical Romance
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To win the woman destined to be his bride . . .
Catherine Depford is the wealthiest heiress in London, and she is all but promised to a proper English lord . . . so why is she having dreams of a Scottish warrior claiming her for his own? She can't imagine that her heated fantasies would come true . . . until she locks eyes with the stranger of her dreams in a crowded ballroom.
A Scotsman will do anything
Highland chief Gabriel MacBraedon has come to London in search of Catherine, the woman an ancient curse dictates to be his bride. But he can't very well sweep the English beauty into his arms and carry her off to Scotland in the dead of night. Or can he? Nothing is impossible when a Scotsman's passion is making the rules . . .
It’s been quite some time since I last read a Highland historical and I’m glad that I picked this book up. I’m very wary of trying new to me authors because I always expect the worst which could work out for me in the end if I really end up liking the book, as was the case with this one. Debra Mullins weaves a magical tale of a Scottish Chief hell-bent on securing his destined bride who will put an end to the curse that has befallen his people and their lands.
His chosen Bride, Catherine Depford is a wealthy heiress from London who is half Scots and scared that she’s losing her mind just like her mother did before she died. She’s been having these dreams of a Scottish warrior who makes sweet love to her and speaks of a curse that she’s needed to help satisfy so that it can bring prosperity back to his people. There are voices in her head that are telling her that she needs to marry to save the people and all that goodness and she thinks she’s going crazy when the man of her dreams shows up at a ball in London. When she sees Gabriel across the floor, she thinks he’s not real so she makes quick work of filling her dance card so that she won’t have time to see people she thinks only she can see.
Gabriel, on the other hand is trying to hurry up and find The Bride, take her back home, marry her and save his people. He knows that Catherine is The Bride because she bears the birthmark and is of Farlan blood. She grew up in England though, grew up in an English household and knew nothing about curses or clans or anything until the voices started, right after her 18th birthday.
Gabriel is determined to bring Catherine back to the family and Catherine is determined on finding out about her Mother’s family and why she’s hearing voices and dreaming of Gabriel. She doesn’t believe in curses or magic or anything that Gabriel is talking about which is understandable to me since she didn’t grow up with the tales and she has never been to Scotland so she’s never seen the destruction the curse has brought to Gabriel’s people.
The thing about this story was that I saw where everyone was coming from. I saw how desperate Gabriel was to get Catherine back home and married. I saw his frustration at trying to woo her into marriage the English way so that he didn’t scare her, I felt his frustration when he thought that Catherine was playing games with him. I really felt his need to have her, even though he didn’t want to have her. The lust he was battling along with the longing he was dealing with for his one love, Jean Farlan was all told in such a way that I felt for him, I wanted things to work out for him.
Same thing with Catherine. Only, I saw and felt what Debra Mullins was trying to get me to feel. I felt the craziness she thought she was going through but I also felt the selfishness in her as well. I felt the madness that Gabriel and Brodie felt when she would not give in and marry Gabriel, even after she was in Scotland and saw the destruction herself. I felt their desperation and then their anger over everything.
Catherine was a spoiled princess who got everything she wanted. Her father doted on her and her mother died so long ago that she hardly remembers her…all she remembers of her mother was that she was mad and it scared her too because it seemed as if she was going to be taken by the same madness but when she went with Gabriel, I thought things would have gotten easier for the both of them, only they didn’t because Catherine was more worried about finding and fixing HER, she didn’t really pay much attention to Gabriel’s problems.
And seriously, could you blame her? The way everyone came down on her when they found out that she wasn’t sold on marrying Gabriel yet. She doesn’t believe in any of the curses they talked about. All of it was so new to her that I didn’t blame her for being cautious over it all. I got so pissed off at the clansmen when they all made her feel like an outcast because she hadn’t yet given her agreement to the marriage. I know that Brodie was only speaking because he was hurt because of his son but his words still pissed me the hell off.
And then there was Jean. When we first read about Jean, when Gabriel tells Catherine that she wouldn’t have been his choice if he could have chosen because he was in love with Jean, I was like…ugh, why did this have to be written into the story but I was glad for it because it added a bit more drama to the book and made it just a little more interesting to keep reading. I liked Jean because Gabriel did but then I met her.
And immediately, I didn’t care for her. I felt betrayed by Gabriel when he went up and sang with her and then the little bit in the hallway but I was so hot damn proud of Catherine for having more faith in him than I did because I was pissed to high heaven. She knew that Gabriel wouldn’t be unfaithful to her, even though he wasn’t sure if he married her or not and the way she handled coming upon then in the hallway, totally had me rooting them on.
I loved seeing Gabriel fall in love with Catherine. I loved how he was around Catherine. The way she was around him, I admired that Catherine was refreshingly honest about the things Gabriel made her feel even though she was a virgin. She never lied about the way Gabriel made her feel, the way she just laid it out and was like, “Aye, I want you too even though I shouldn’t.” I liked that about her. So many times, we read historicals where the heroine plays dumb and it was just good to finally read about a historical heroine who told it like it was.
Gabriel was a great hero. He was your typical Scottish Laird hero, fierce, strong, handsome and just everything yummy and hunkalicious. I loved seeing him with his family, with Catherine and I just enjoyed HIM. I loved reading his Scottish brogue, even though I’ve never heard people talk like that, I think it’s hella sexy. At Church, one of the missionaries serving in my area is from Scotland and his brogue is definitely sexy so I just pictured his voice in my head whenever Gabriel talked.
Overall, this story was good. I enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the characters and it was an entertaining read. I think that if you’re in the mood for a good Scottish romance, this is the romance for you.
Grade: 4 out of 5