THE WRONG BRIDE – Gayle Callen
Scotland – 1727
Catriona Duff is sleeping in her cousin's room (also called Catriona Duff!) when an intruder enters and forces her to come with him. Terrified, she is thrust into a coach and taken far from her family home in England. The daughter of the younger brother of Earl of Aberfoyle, Riona has been mistaken for her cousin, the earl's daughter. But she is unable to convince her kidnapper that he's taken the wrong Catriona. He is determined to take her back to Scotland and marry her in order to honor a pledge the earl made to the kidnapper's father years ago.
The new Laird of the McCallums, Hugh knows that the only way he can keep his clan solvent and protect the lands he would lose should he renege on the betrothal, is to wed Catriona. She is feisty and obstinate, insisting she is “the other Cat” and not his future wife. However, Hugh can be just as stubborn, and when his clan's future is at stake, he will do anything to prevent losing their lands, or their honor.
When they arrive in Scotland, Riona forces herself to pretend to be the right Catriona. She's worried about the reaction of the clan and is beginning to realize how much Hugh has to lose if he should fail. All along she hopes that somehow the truth will be known, but the longer she stays at Larig Castle, the more she feels at home. And the more she comes to know her true feelings for Hugh. There are a lot of secrets, though, and Riona wants to ferret them out.
THE WRONG BRIDE is a well written romance with a different premise, and some excellent characters. Once Riona settles in at the castle, her terror and confusion begin to recede, and her concern for Hugh and his clan grows. Hugh is honorable, although he tries to hide his faults with his bluster.
An enjoyable novel, my only criticism is that in Scotland and Ireland Catriona is pronounced Katrina – so the shortened name of Riona probably wouldn't be used. Otherwise, the details of the story are well done and realistic.