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A Bewitching Bride
by Elizabeth Thornton
(Berkley Sensation, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-425-23780-9
**
A Bewitching Bride is the story of a backwards love match between Gavin Hepburn and Kate Cameron, virtual strangers who marry to escape an unknown villain who somehow knows of Kateís link to the supernatural.

Gavin is a psychic whoís just learning about his abilities and testing his limits. Long ago, his grandmother gave him a prophecy for his life, and heís recently started listening to his intuition, hoping that it will lead him to the right place to be to fulfill her vague directions.

Kate Cameron is in the Highlands because her friend Juliet is getting married, and sheís very happy to be there until a snowstorm causes all of the wedding guests to be stuck together at the hotel. Even more disturbing, Kate receives a cryptic message during the snowstorm that says that they burn witches in Scotland. Kate is completely stunned. Who, among the wedding guests would know that Kate sees visions, and that sheís been battling them her entire life? Kate doesnít understand her gifts as her parents died while she was very young in somewhat mysterious circumstances and were unable to give her guidance.

Kate turns to the one person she knows she can trust with the message in the note: Dr. Will Rankin, her psychiatrist and friend. She makes plans to meet him that night outside the hotel to talk to him, and instead finds him dead. Kateís badly shaken and ends up being found by Gavinís dog Macduff, who brings her to Gavinís cabin. Gavin was good friends with Will and heís very upset by the nightís happenings. While Gavin and Kate spend the night talking about a murderer being about, others notice that she is gone, and now her virtue is in question.

Gavin decides that Kate is his destiny and decides to protect her by marrying her while they investigate to see if a string of accidental deaths connected to Dr. Rankinís clinic could be the work of his murderer. It also seems apparent that Kate is next on the killerís list and she and Gavin begin moving from place to place while doing their research, and end up running into a very colorful cast of background characters while they try to unravel the mystery of Kateís past and who could be after her now.

A Bewitching Bride ran out of steam for me by the fifth chapter, sadly.

The beginning of the book had some promise, Gavin doesnít fit the mold of traditional hero in some aspects, which I liked. He was quite introspective, studious and loved his dog and his friends quite obviously. Kate herself was a bit of an enigma, shrouded in mystery as she was in the first half of the book, but I liked the idea of her overprotective, interesting family.

Unfortunately, Kateís family that was much talked about in the beginning of the novel was little more than a few sentences in the book, and Kate herself stayed aloof and self-questioning throughout the scenes. I really wondered why Gavin liked her, as he seemed like a fun guy and she was just a stick in the mud. Also, there seemed to be a lot of drawn out chasing and talking about the bad guy that was supposed to double as courting that seemed off to me. How am I to believe that Gavin and Kate are falling in love over chats with the police, digging into Kateís less than pretty past and riding in worn out carriages to the next safe house? Not to mention that there was little to no chemistry between this pair.

Also, the mystery portion of this book is a yawn. There was an attempt at some twists and turns, but I was so bored with that part of the action that I really didnít care to keep track of the usual suspects and instead wanted to flip ahead to see if the part where the villain shows up would actually be interesting.

So, in my opinion, A Bewitching Bride is a miss, and I can think of better ways to spend a few hours.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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