Top critical review
Their Outlaw Bride (Bridgewater Brides)
Reviewed in the United States on October 3, 2020
Their Outlaw Bride is her second book in the Bridgewater Brides series. Delta James introduces us to Elizabeth (Lizzie) Morgan, Gavan MacLean, and Caelen MacAllister. Life has dealt these three an interesting hand. Lizzie’s life is one of hardships starting with the death of her parents during an Indian raid and her 10-year life as a captive. She spent several years in an orphanage. Then the so-called pious citizens tried to coerce into being a soiled dove. Her strength of character and stamina allowed her to resist turning to cattle rustling instead. As this story opens, readers find themselves witnessing trial and a sentencing of hanging. Through her trial, we meet Gavan MacLean, a former Scot soldier, who relocated to Bridgewater. One look is all he needs for him to know he has found the woman he has been searching for. He telegraphs his childhood friend, Caelen MacAllister, to come to meet said woman. Gavan and Caelen hold nonconventional views of marriage. They believe that a woman should be married to more than one man. In the harsh living of the West, this is a practical solution for the woman. If something happens to one husband, she has another and does not have to succumb to becoming a soiled dove to survive. Will Gavan and Caelen find a way to save Lizzie from hanging? Will Lizzie agree to such an unconventional union? Will they find happiness?
I was not too happy with this book as I do not feel it meet the standard of the Vanessa Vale’s Bridgewater series. I realize that this is a different series, but it is patterned after Vale’s series and even includes a few of those characters. I feel Ms. James relied too much on explicit sex scenes to move the plot along rather than building a stronger character-driven plot. She has the basic bone skeleton for this type of romantic ménage plot. She missed the mark on building intrigue with the plot twist at the climax with the reemergence of the evil sheriff. She could have built tension and intrigue by hinting at his motives for his dogged pursuit of Lizzie. Ms. James provides the backstory for our two virile Scots; however, she did not strengthen their connection to the original Bridgewater community. If these weaknesses are addressed this book would go from an okay read to an outstanding read.