Title: Border Wedding
Author: Amanda Scott
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When Sir Walter Scott is caught in the act of stealing back his own cattle, he is given a choice by his captor: marry his captor's eldest daughter, Margaret, or hang - and his men hang with him. Wat chooses to marry Meg. The story that follows is that of their falling in love, persevering through their forced marriage, prejudices against each other, and violent politics of the Scottish borders on the 14th century.
I had mixed feelings about this book. It's an interesting story, and I kept reading it to find out what was going to happen, but I had a hard time for several reasons. First, Scott (the author, not the character) embroils her story in the politics of the period - who is loyal to whom, who is spying on whom, and who is intermarried to which family and regards themselves as English or Scottish. It got very confusing. Aside from that, the other thing that was off-putting in this story was, quite frankly, the hero's attitude toward having sex with the heroine, his wife. True to attitudes of the time period, Wat is only concerned with his own pleasure and with getting off. Unfortunately, this realism is not necessarily desirable in a romance novel. I want to be able to empathize with the heroine, and that means she can't be left hanging at the end of each sexual encounter with her husband! She may not know what she's missing, but I as the reader do, and it is very frustrating. Granted, Wat concedes that he's been a prig and resolves to make sure she comes every time he does - before he does, even - but that concession comes 50 pages from the end of the novel, and the reader never sees him do anything about it.
Come to think of it, the last two chapters seem almost like Scott was trying to finish her story and keep it under 400 pages, thereby condensing at least 100 pages' worth of story into 20.
If I hadn't been so confused about the politics (which, granted, may have been easier to follow if I hadn't taken a week-long break in the middle of the novel), frustrated over the lack of sexual resolution for the heroine, and disappointed by the rushed ending, I would be more than happy to give the novel 5 stars. As it is, I'm not willing to drop to 3.5, but will give it 4 stars. I may or may not be reading the sequel, Border Lass, when it comes out in September.