Tara Neale

March 22, 2012

The Bride and The Brute by Laurel O’Donnell

Filed under: book review,romance — Tara Neale @ 2:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Title: The Bride and the Brute

Author: Laurel O’Donnell

Source: Amazon, AllRomance

Price: FREE Read from Amazon

Heat: Sweet and innocent until the end

Rating: Tantalizingly teasing

Genre: Historical (Medieval)

One of the best things about this brave new world of self-publishing is the number of quality FREE books available to readers. That’s how I discovered this week’s feature author. I admit it is how I find most of my favorite authors.

Back in the day, before the Internet (yes, I am THAT old), I would visit used bookstores. I would sit by the racks, if a book’s cover caught my eye I would read the blurb on the back or inside cover, then perhaps a few pages to see if it was worth the money. Sometimes I would spend hours in the store to come out with only a half a dozen or so books.

I much prefer this brave new world in which we live. Now in the privacy of my home without the need to have someone watch my young daughter, I simply log into Amazon or AllRomance. I still read the blurbs on dozens and dozens of books, but these days I tend to ignore the covers. But what gets me every time is the price. If I can pick up a book for ninety-nine cents or less, then I am likely to buy it (if the blurb is decent). My line of thought is…what the heck, it’s only ninety-nine cents and I’m supporting an indie author. But when the price is FREE, I rarely turn away…and I have gotten some really nice surprises that way.

The Bride and the Brute by Laurel O’Donnell is one of those surprises. Admittedly, I have never been into historicals that much…and sweet has not been my thing since I was a teenager. So without that magic…what the heck…I might have missed this delightful interlude of a novella and not discovered a truly noteworthy indie historical writer.

Set in Medieval England, this story is about an arranged marriage with some interesting twists. A hero haunted by his parents’ disastrous arranged marriage. Reese Harrington has sworn to never marry without true love. Jayce Cullen is the sheltered only child of a neighboring lord who is equal parts timid, innocent maiden and spirited, mouthy young woman. Mix in a dying father determined to see his only child safely wed and a meddling sister, who wants only her brother’s happiness. The result is disastrous and at times comical collision of wills.

Like I admitted neither the genre nor the heat level would place this novella at the top of my to-read list. Yet I found myself engrossed for a couple of hours (this is a short novella after all) in this intriguing story of mixed-up plans, meddling relatives and two strong people who find love and happiness despite themselves. Ms. O’Donnell’s strength lies in developing believable and engaging characters, including an array of secondary ones who help the story along and make you laugh.

One of the things I loved best was that unlike too many historical romances I have read (from top publishers) she did not bog the reader down with description. Yes, she gave enough details in terms of clothing, living arrangements and setting for you to know that you were not in Kansas, Toto. But not the long winded ones where you threw up your hands and moaned…do I really care about her dress?

The one thing I was not too hyped about was the love scenes, but as I said earlier I outgrew sweet a long time ago. This is one of the few works that I have read in a long time that used the word…manhood. It took me back to another lifetime almost to see that word.

So if you do enjoy historical romance and especially if you are into less graphic/sexual character driven romances then I think you will fall in love with Laurel O’Donnell. Even if you don’t, like me, you may find this book an enjoyable read for a light change. It is definitely worth the cost of admission…and her longer works are also reasonably priced at around two to three dollars each. Ms. O’Donnell is definitely one of the stars of this brave new world of self-publishing.

Next week I visit another unusual family Bella Andre’s The Sullivan’s, a quirky contemporary family with six HOT brothers and twin baby sisters.

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