cover image The Bride

The Bride

Carolyn Davidson, . . HQN, $6.99 (378pp) ISBN 978-0-373-77220-9

In late–19th-century New Mexico territory, Rafael McKenzie is searching for a bride to fulfill his dying father’s wish that he marry a woman of “virtue” in order to lay full claim to his inheritance, the Diamond Ranch. Isabella Montgomery has been brought up in a convent and is promised to the no-good Juan Garcia. Determined to preserve Isabella’s goodness and make her his own, Rafael spirits her away. The book’s first half is dominated by their journey to Diamond Ranch, and while the trip is filled with a multitude of innuendos, the pair remains quite formal with each other, and sparks fail to fly. Upon their arrival at the ranch, however, Isabella is introduced to Lucia, Rafael’s distant relative, and her jealousy of Isabella makes for delicious conflict. The romance between Isabella and Rafael itself never transcends its initial formality, but that might be just fine with many blusher fans. (Feb.)