Mills & Boon, £4.99, ISBN 978-0-263-91686-7
Historical Romance, 2016
Terri Brisbin’s The Highlander’s Runaway Bride is exactly what it says on the cover: Eva MacKay runs away after being told by her villainous father that she is to be married to Rob Mackintosh as part of a mandate to cement political alliance among clans, et cetera. Our heroine isn’t thinking straight, but she has an excuse: she had just given birth to her now dead lover’s kid, and that kid was taken away from her. She now wants her baby back, and her singular plan of action is, apparently, finding the best ways to get herself killed, slowly and painfully. Normally I would approve, but Rob, that spoilsport, is determined to save Eva from herself. Who knows, he’d even fall in love with her. The rest of the story is the usual “heroine in a new clan, in a new castle, after an arranged marriage” stuff – nothing that you haven’t come across before if you have read at least two Highland romances.
The thing is, this story is driven entirely by Eva acting like a demented gerbil. Well, like I’ve said, she’d just been through a traumatic experience, so she has an excuse for her nonsense, but that doesn’t change the fact that this story is as enjoyable as gnawing on shards of glass. Eva is nearly dead when Rob finds her – because she runs off without making any preparations; heroine on a determined collision with disaster straight ahead – and, when she comes to, she wants out of this marriage, because she still wants to look for her kid despite having no idea how to even begin. Rob says okay, but surprise, her father is like, marry Rob or HER BRAT DIES. Eva is the only one shocked that her villainous father would go to this extent.
The rest of the story basically sees Eva trying her best to hog secrets to herself and trying most ineptly to become a martyr and die for her cause, all the while stammering, telling everyone how she deserves to be treated badly by Rob just because, being guilt-ridden, moping, and generally acting like the most useless twit ever. It never occurs to her that marrying a powerful man like Rob would be the best leverage she has to get her child back, especially when Rob is allied to a powerful clan. It never enters her useless determined-to-be-a-martyr head that Rob and his people have been kinder to her than she deserves, and thus, she has allies if she’d only get her head out of her rear end and think for once. No, Eva’s determined course of action is basically I WILL CHARGE AHEAD WITHOUT ANY PLAN OR PREPARATIONS AAAAAH.
Why would I want a happy ending for a colossal idiot of heroine who is so determined to stay miserable, play the victim, and get herself killed at every opportunity?