I’ll start this review by saying that I’ve never read an inspirational romance before and I had some preconceived notions about the genre that kept me away from it. That said, Candy Little’s debut novel, The Unwilling Bride, shattered all those notions and gave me a fresh perspective on how sweet, sultry, and truly romantic this sub-genre can really be.
In The Unwilling Bride, the heated political climate of 18th century US sets the scene where Caitlin Gallagher, an Irish immigrant who fled her native land with her family after her brother is killed in the Irish/English war, must marry Dillon Cade, an Englishman also fleeing his past, against her will. I know, it’s a mouthful… and it’s just as complicated for these two. Despite a brief initial attraction to this man, Caitlin rails against the marriage and her new husband. After all, he’s her family’s enemy. How can she love him?
Things aren’t as they appear, as Caitlin soon discovers, and soon the truth of her arranged nuptials comes to light. Her family sets up the union to protect Caitlin from being sent out of the US when a law is passed against immigrants. Separated from her family, her freedom lost to a husband she doesn’t love, Caitlin has to find the strength to keep moving. She turns to her deep spirituality, something that may be the key to connecting her and opening her heart to Dillon.
Little does a fantastic job of unraveling the complicated relationship between the new Mr. & Mrs. Cade, stripping away their pride and their stubborn tendencies layer by layer. When all is revealed, their relationship blooms like a beautiful flower. And this is where she shattered all those preconceived notions… their love is white hot, jumping right off the page. The spirituality of this story is not overwhelming, not unbelievable, and not in your face. It’s a gentle thread woven throughout their story and helps them triumph some pretty tough obstacles. Without giving too much away, Caitlin and Dillon’s story is the kind that warms your heart and gives you hope.
The Three R’s
Rating: PG. Little touches upon some intimate moments but always “pans away” like in those old movies. You get just enough heat before it goes too far.
Recommendation: Read this if you need to feel good about life, love, hope, whatever. It’s not just a great story, it also delivers warm fuzzies right to your heart.
Re-read: Maybe not right away. There’s not much you’ll glean from a second read-through, but it might be worth it to tuck away on your bookshelf for a revisit later on.