Friday, January 24, 2014

Aloha to Cathy Maxwell and THE BRIDE SAYS NO - Book Review


Cathy Maxwell kicks off a new Regency Scottish Romance series, The Brides of Wishmore, with THE BRIDE SAYS NO, available January 28 from Avon Romance:

What happens when a bride says no?

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publicly jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar.

What happens when the heart says yes?

He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass.

And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?

File:Loch Tay at Kenmore.jpg
Lock Tay - the setting for THE BRIDE SAYS NO
Released to Public Domain (link)

I think there's a hero in all of us. - John Bubber

The above quote comes from the 1992 movie HERO with Geena Davis, Dustin Hoffman, and Andy Garcia, portraying a journalist, con man, and homeless veteran, respectively. Their lives interest after Davis’ plane crashes, Hoffman rescues the passengers, but Garcia (Bubber) is hailed the hero.


How does a contemporary movie relate to a historical romance? Cathy Maxwell delivers an emotionally satisfying love story with characters, like those in HERO, who are not quite who they seem to be. Lady Aileen thinks she is immune to love after a scandalous divorce. Lady Tara believes she must the center of attention to validate her being. Blake seeks society’s acceptance despite his own financial success. Yet their lives interest in Kenmore, Scotland – a picturesque village on Loch Tay. Ah, the Highlands. Maxwell’s characters are not immune from Alba’s magic as they find themselves wishing for more in this new series about the Wishmore Brides.  

Maxwell takes advantage of every scene to create her own magic.  For example, Blake’s valet unveils his Scottish brogue once they are ensconced in the country house. When Blake comments that he did not realize the valet was Scottish, the valet responds that coming home brings out the best in him.

The Highlands

I find it appropriate that Maxwell sets up the love triangle(s) in Kenmore, Scottish Gaelic for “big head”.  Several characters indeed have large egos that are ultimately humbled by a Corinthian, er, a verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Maxwell shines as she humbles her characters – characters who come all varieties: gentry, villagers, beautiful, plain, financially successful, publicly disgraced.   In one particular scene after Sunday service, Blake scans the church yard and observes to the local folk. It is then he realizes that the trappings of London have no effect on the content residents of Kenmore.

Lock Ness

Nuances like these are Maxwell’s strength as she challenges readers to consider who is the hero in THE BRIDE SAYS NO.

Getting back to the quote, HERO opens with the journalist (Davis) accepting an award. She pulls out an onion, peels it at the podium, and demonstrates that no matter how much you peel away the layers, you find nothing new. It is all the same. The scene mocks the public's search for something that may not be hidden but facing them in plain sight. The characters in THE BRIDE SAYS NO also peel back the onion, hoping to find the comfort that eludes them. Yet it takes several lessons in humility for them to realize that love is within their reach. Thank you, Cathy Maxwell, for this endearing adventure.

Recommended read for fans of heartwarming romances. And, of course, readers who appreciate Scotland’s mystique.

I am looking forward to THE BRIDE SAYS MAYBE, Book 2, available February 25 from Avon Romance.  For now, I am giving away a copy of THE BRIDE SAYS NO to one randomly selected commenter - winner's choice of format.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about onions - love them or loathe them?  I love them, especially Maui's sweet onions.   In fact, Maui hosts an Onion Festival in Whalers Village at this link.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, February 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

To learn more about Cathy and her books, check out her website at



  1. I like them if they are chopped up small. I don't like them in large rings (like on hamburgers).

  2. I love French onion soup and cooked onions in general. I don't like to eat them raw unless they're mild.

  3. I love onions(onion rings, onion flavored chips.)

  4. I love onions in all forms. You can't have too much onion, IMO. ;)

    Marcy Shuler

  5. I love them - all kinds - cooked or raw. They are suppose to be very good for you.

  6. Loathe them. I hate the crunchy bite of them. My mother used them a lot, and I had a childhood of picking little pieces of onion out of my hamburgers and potato salad. :D

  7. I love onions. It doesn't matter if they are raw or cooked, just as long as they are sweet and taste good.

  8. I love onions in any shape and form. My daughter just sauted some slices with a little sugar sprinkled on top and some Balsamic vinegar as well. Just so good especially after she added mushrooms to the pan. Thanks for the review as well.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  9. I love onions...fried, sauted, or raw! I also LOVE Cathy Maxwell's books!!

  10. Onions are great with most foods. I especially love them off the BBQ.

  11. I'm not much of a fan of onions but I do love onion rings! And I love Cathy Maxwell books :)

  12. I love onions. The smell of it when it's cooking is wonderful.

  13. I love onions especially onion rings and bloomin' onions.

  14. I'm actually allergic to onions. I get gives when I eat them, especially fresh ones.

  15. Love 'em! I like them raw in my salads and I love them caramelized :) Thanks!

  16. I love onions especially when I sauté them with mushrooms. When I lived in Hawaii I too loved the Maui onions. They were so sweet.

  17. I got of box of Vidalia onions last year and made a couple batches of French Onion Soup - the recipe was quite yummy - maybe it was the bit of brandy that the recipe suggested?

  18. I love them sauté. I love them grilled. I love them in my burgers. I think my fave would be a shallot.

  19. I love onions! Just about every shape and size! I have to limit what I eat, though, as they don't like me too well... :(

  20. I love onions. Always order and/or add them in dishes. I think I eat them raw more often then cooked.

  21. I've learned to love onions. I wasn't always a fan growing up and I still have to be in a mood for them now. I have fallen in love with red onions on my salad and I never fail to put them on my sub at Subway. Meatloaf must have onions as well as in my chili and French Onion Soup is extremely yummy!

  22. I love onions too. I especially love The Outback's "blooming onion" with that lovely sauce to dip into.

    Thank you for this chance to win. I love Cathy's books, and this sounds great.

  23. I like it best when I can't even tell they are there because they are mixed so wel lin the food...

  24. I like putting them in recipes but don't usually eat them separately.