The Beauty

The Countess

The Damsel

The Heiress

The Princess

The Rogue

The Rose Red Bride

The Scoundrel

The Snow White Bride
by Claire Delacroix
(Warner, 6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-446-61444-0
The first two books of Claire Delacroix’ “Jewels of Kinfairlie” series were wonderfully different reading. Both were medieval romances written with a fairy tale flavor and a dash of the paranormal. Unfortunately the third book in the series, The Snow White Bride is more of an unremarkable historical, lacking the paranormal aspects and written in a much more straightforward manner.

In The Red Rose Bride, and The Beauty Bride the Laird of Kinfairlie, Alexander, successfully schemes to marry off two of his many sisters. While both scenarios end happily, the events leading to his sisters’ marriages were unusual and stressful. The Snow White Bride is the story of how the sisters take their revenge. The main instrument of that revenge is the heroine, Lady Eleanor.

Stumbling into the village at Kinfairlie, on foot in a worsening snowstorm, the beautiful Eleanor takes refuge in the village church. When she succumbs to exhaustion and falls asleep in the church, she is found the next day by Alexander’s sisters and is invited to stay for a while in the keep and join the yuletide feasting. Although Eleanor is running for her life, the sisters are able to overcome her objections and Eleanor agrees to stay for a warm meal.

There she meets Alexander, and by virtue of one evening’s acquaintance decides it would be a good idea to join the sisters in forcing Alexander into marriage. Some drugs in Alexander’s wine, a little blood on the sheets, and Eleanor’s climbing into Alexander’s bed is all it takes. But before the newly married couple can begin their life together, they have to solve the problems of Eleanor’s troubles and Alexander’s poverty.

Alexander is a great character and I enjoyed him very much in all three books, even though he was a pseudo-antagonist in the first two. But one quickly loses patience with how easily he accepts being forced into marriage. Until certain facts about Eleanor are revealed he innocently goes along with the plot, although several things would indicate that something isn’t quite right with the whole situation.

Eleanor is a heroine who keeps her secrets too well and for too long. She falls under an ugly suspicion at Kinfairlie, and much of it is her own fault for not telling the truth about herself. Several times she could have averted trouble if she’d just opened her mouth and told Alexander the truth. Also, she knows that Alexander needs to marry her for more than her looks but doesn’t share the information with him. The resulting misunderstandings create conflict which isn’t worth the trouble once it is finally resolved. The book does redeem itself somewhat with some very tender scenes between Alexander and Eleanor, and with an excellent epilogue.

The Snow White Bride is supposed to be the third book in a trilogy, but there are some major holes left unfilled from previous books that I thought were going to be concluded in this one. Either this trilogy has turned into a series, or the reader will never know what happened to three characters that played major roles in the earlier books. Fans of the earlier two books will want to read this one just to find out what happens to Alexander, but I would in no way suggest this book for a stand-alone

The Snow White Bride is a disappointing end to a promising trilogy. It’s just too forgettable in too many ways for me to recommend it.

--Wendy Livingston

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