Tag Archives: Feuding clans

meant to be married

Category Romance Review: Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind

category romance
Meant to Be Married by Ruth Wind
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1998
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Special Edition #1194
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 248
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind (aka Barbara Samuels) is a powerful romance that brought tears to my eyes. This second-chance-at-love story is underscored by superb characterization and a sensitive writer’s hand.

The Characters and Setup

Meant To Be Married begins a decade in the past when Elias Santiago and Sarah Greenwood defied their families to become lovers. The teenage Romeo and Juliet were precisely that: two youths from feuding clans who fell in love with one another and had to keep their relationship secret.

For over a century, Santiago and Greenwood blood has been shed via lynchings, murders, and suicides. Legend says the feud began when a Santiago male violated a Greenwood female. The Greenwoods hanged the Santiago man, and in turn, the Greenwood woman killed herself. Was it due to shame or could it have been heartbreak?

Whatever the reason, the enmity between the families has grown stronger over time.

The high school sweethearts are on their way out of state to elope. Then a change of heart makes them turn back to contact their parents. Sarah’s father is a police officer, and to their dismay, they are met on the road with sirens and flashing red and blue lights.

Elias, who is a couple of years older than Sarah, is taken away and arrested. Sarah is whisked off to a home for pregnant girls. There she languishes for months, with no word from Elias. But how can he contact her when he’s trapped in jail for months before being released and has no idea where Sarah is? After she gives birth, Sarah’s parents put the baby up for a closed adoption.

Sarah goes to New York to become an acclaimed photographer, snapping pics of models and celebrities. Elias stays behind in their hometown of Taos, New Mexico, and opens a thriving tea business. Time and distance separate them, but they have a bond that will unite them.

The Plot

After Sarah’s father has a heart attack, she receives a call from her mother, begging her to return home. Through the years, Sarah has visited her parents, but never for more than a day at a time. However, it’s time to put old ghosts to rest. Sarah returns to Taos. It’s no surprise when she sees Elias again, and their attraction is as vibrant as it was in the past. Even more so in the present time.

Years ago, there had been many obstacles in their way. They were too young. Their families were involved in a generations-long feud. The Greenwoods were upper class, and the Santiagos, although upwardly mobile, weren’t quite there yet The Greenwoods are Anglo-European; the Santiagos are Hispanic, a mix of Spanish and Amerindian heritage.

Now, some circumstances have changed, while some things remain as they always have. But fate will play a guiding hand, forcing Elias and Sarah to cross paths. Elias has a teenage niece with aspirations of being a model. He reaches out to Sarah, offering to pay her to photograph the girl and create a portfolio. Sarah reluctantly agrees.

As the two meet up again and again, they cannot deny their feelings for one another. How can they mend the wounds of the past when the wounds are still raw and gaping open?

Ruth Wind’s beautiful prose had me immersed in the semi-tragic love story. There were points when the suffering was overwhelming. She had me hissing at the contemptuous attitudes of the senior generations. I was enthusiastically rooting for Elias and Sarah to make it as a forever couple.

Final Analysis of Meant to Be Married

The ending of Meant to Be Married was a bittersweet conclusion. For although Elias and Sarah are finally reunited, theirs is an incomplete joining. A vital piece is missing, and their happily-ever-after is not a perfect one.

And then, the epilogue comes along and gives them a ray of hope. That was a real punch-in-the-gut moment. I truly felt Elias and Sarah’s joy and pain.

This book was a beautifully written romance. Meant to Be Married is so close to perfection. It’s a keeper, although, at times, the anguish was too much to bear. I get misty-eyed simply thinking about Elias and Sarah’s torment. Regardless of what they endured, the power of love proves paramount.

Even if the ending isn’t wrapped up in a pretty ribbon, the pair have found each other again. They will finally get married, as was meant to be.

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
5
Chemistry
5
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4
Overall: 4.8

Synopsis

If only they had married, all those years ago…

But their warring families did everything in their power to keep Elias and Sarah apart — short of destroying their love for each other. And soon enough the Santiagos and the Greenwoods succeeded in tearing the young beauty from her darkly handsome — and forbidden — groom-to-be…

Now Sarah was back in town, but she was unprepared to see the bitterness in Elias’s eyes — or the desire that still simmered there. If only for a moment they could forget the past, they could have it all — the love, the family, the future they once dreamed of….

Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind
tender feud

Historical Romance Review: Tender Feud by Nicole Jordan

Tender Feud, Nicole Jordan, Harlequin, 1991, Pino cover art

MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 1/2 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Book

Nicole Jordan’s Tender Feud is an engaging Harlequin Historical where the enemies-to-lovers trope is used against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland.

The Plot

Katrine Campbell has left staid England behind for adventure in her ancestral Scottish homeland. Unfortunately, her Campbell relatives are feuding with the Macleans. On her first night in her family home, Katrine gets caught in the middle of it all and is kidnapped.

Her captor is hunky Raith Maclean, leader of his clan. Maclean is a widower, not looking for remarriage, and certainly not looking for love with his half-Scots-half-English enemy.

There are tons of sparks flying between the fiery Katrine and stubborn Raith. They argue lots but are secretly attracted to one another. The romance takes time to unwind, as Katrine is one of those “spunky” heroines, and Raith is determined to “dominate” her by his will.

Instead, the two learn to build a relationship on trust. Raith has a young female relative with whom Katrine builds an endearing friendship. Raith’s sexy cousin Callum flirts with Katrine. Although she’s not interested in him beyond friendship, Raith glowers and disapproves.

A romance begins to unfurl between our protagonists in due course, as they always do in these books. Katrine finds herself falling deeply for Raith.

Eventually, Katrine is finally released. But is that what she wants?

Final Analysis of Tender Feud

Tender Feud is one of the better Scottish clan feuding and kidnapping love stories I’ve read. Or maybe it only seems that way since I read it when I was young, and other books with similar plots seem to be derivative.

(Side note, just to point out how old I am, every time I think of this book, I recall at the time also listening to one of deceased Spanish crooner’s Camilo Sesto‘s Greatest Hits albums, which was filled with so many romantic songs. Solo Tu (Only You) is my favorite. So perhaps the music swayed my tastes about this book a teeny bit.)

Still, I consider this a more than satisfying read, as I would always contrast books with comparable plots to Tender Feud and find them inferior. There are many romances with this same story and setting, but to this day, this one still holds a certain charm for me. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Nicole Jordan is quite a talented author.

I wish Raith’s sexy cousin Callum had gotten his own book. It doesn’t seem to me that he did, but I’d love to be updated if anyone knows for certain.

Historical Romance Review: Highland Barbarian by Ruth Langan

Highland Barbarian, Ruth Langan, Harlequin, 1990, George H. Jones, cover art

Harlequin Historical #41

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Background to Reading Highland Barbarian

Ruth Langan wrote a series of Highland novels over the years, a few of which I’m already familiar with. I’ve read Ruth Langan’s Highland Heather and Highland Fire, the sequels to Highland Barbarian. I enjoyed those two very much and have fond memories of them.

Highland Heather was the tale of middle sister Brenna being used as Queen Elizabeth’s pawn and captured by the enigmatic Morgan Grey, “The Queen’s Savage,” to mend the rifts between the British and Scots. I’d rate it 4 to 4 1/2-stars. Highland Fire was about the youngest sister, Megan, and a story filled with lots of action, amnesia, and a great, strong-willed heroine paired with a yummy Irish hero. That was a 3 1/2 to 4-star read.

In Highland Barbarian, we see the eldest sister Meredith’s story. Perhaps if I had read this before the other books, I would have liked it more.

The Plot

After her father’s death, Meredith is now the leader of the Mac Alpin clan and must join in an arranged marriage to an ally. However, her marriage is cut short when her bridegroom is killed, and Brice Campbell, the Highland Barbarian, captures Meredith. Brice has apparently attacked the Mac Alpins many times in the past (Or has he? Is the hero of this story just a patsy for a more obvious, easily-telegraphed villain? Why, yes, he is.)

Meredith tries to escape, is thwarted, and is captured again. In time, she makes friends with Brice’s clan members. Slowly she and Brice grow close and fall in love.

But despite her love, Meredith takes flight once more. This time she is conveniently captured by an enemy of Brice who tried to rape Meredith earlier on. Brice saves the day, but Meredith flees back to her people anyway without so much as a thank you.

There’s a mildly amusing part towards the end when Queen Mary switches places with Meredith because they look so similar, being slim redheads and all (as if that’s all you have to do to look exactly like someone: share the same hair color!). Mary wants some alone time with Bothwell, so Meredith will stand in her stead and judge over arguments. And then the villain shows up, and the predictable ending comes to its predictable end.

Final Analysis to Highland Barbarian

I found the story told here to be a by-the-numbers tale filled with same-old-same-old—a good read, but barely. The love between Brice and Meredith was bland, and the action didn’t thrill me. Highland Barbarian‘s sequels are better, with more original stories than this one.

This wasn’t a terrible book by any means; it just didn’t excite me. I’d give this barely three stars and consider it just worth enough to pass the time.