Monday, May 14, 2012
I'd been prowling the crumbling ruins of Castle Weyrcraig for so long that I could no longer remember if I was man or beast. Then one stormy night the superstitious Highlanders of Ballybliss decided to leave a helpless virgin bound to a stake in the castle courtyard to satisfy my insatiable appetites.
My demands might strike terror in the hearts of men, but this bold beauty dared to defy me. After she informed me that she didn't believe in dragons, I had no choice but to make her my prisoner—or risk being exposed to those I had sought to deceive with my dangerous masquerade.
Soon I found myself stealing into the moonlit tower just to watch her sleep. Little does she know that beneath this beast's gruff exterior beats the passionate heart of a man. Gwendolyn Wilder may not believe in dragons, but I intend to use all my sensual wiles to teach her to believe in something even more magical—true love.
The Dragon of Weyrcraig
I know this book is a favorite by many, but I just didn't feel the love for it. Set around fifteen years after the Battle of Culloden in Scotland, it's the story of how Gwendolyn Wilder, a virgin who is considered overweight and unattractive in comparison to her beautiful - and promiscuous - sisters, falls in love with the Dragon of Weyrcraig, a man who sees her in a different light - as a true beauty. Ironically, he will not show Gwendolyn his own face as he holds her prisoner whispering sweet nothings in her ear as he gradually seduces her over time. Why all the secrecy? Who is he really and what is he hiding from, for he is truly hiding from someone - himself, maybe?
How did sensible Gwendolyn wind up as the Dragon's prisoner? It all started because the Dragon, who took over the crumbling castle on the hill overlooking her village began to scare everyone to death by making demands for food and money. The townspeople are a superstitious lot who decide to make Gwendolyn a human sacrifice to the Dragon in hopes that he will give up his demands of the exorbitant amount of £10,000. The same amount of money that was paid to the traitor who turned in the laird of Weyrcraig following the battle of Culloden. The laird had been a Jacobite supporter protecting Bonnie Prince Charlie and helping him escape the British.
As it turns out the fearsome Dragon is Bernard, the son of the former laird. Believed to have died when the castle was shelled by the British, he actually lived and now is eager to seek revenge on whoever turned in his father, a fate leading to the laird's death, but not before he cursed the entire village for their treachery. Gwendolyn fell for Bernard years before when she was a pudgy young girl and he the strikingly handsome future laird of Weyrcraig. But much happened after Culloden, including the sacking of the castle and an end to Bernard's future as laird. Captured and held prisoner by the British, he was then rescued by an Englishman who wound up raising him as his son and heir. Now rich and powerful, Bernard, posing as the Dragon, has come back to the small village, bent on avenging the life of his father.
Did Bernard remember Gwendolyn from all those years ago when she was just a young girl? Their reunion when he rescues her from the rain, tied to the post outside his castle is vague in Gwen's memory. Who carried her inside the castle? A smart girl, Gwen suffers from an inferiority complex due to her weight. As Bernard - the mysterious Dragon - makes it plain he likes her lush, curvaceous figure, but she finds it hard to believe anyone, much less the Dragon would find her beautiful. Yet he obviously does and keeps her there for weeks with him, dressing her in beautiful gowns and treating her like a queen - albeit in a gilded cage. Over time she gets to know him slightly, but is chagrined that he will not confide in her or reveal his face to her. She gets to know his friend Tupper who visits with her often and becomes a friend, yet after questioning him, she still cannot glean any information as to who the identity of the Dragon is and what he is doing there. Meanwhile, she's fighting her own desires that are growing more and more due to her proximity to him. She is drawn to him, yet she's also annoyed with him since he won't show himself to her. Why won't he? For fear she will recognize him? Is he horribly scarred? Is he so hideous he cannot bear to have anyone see him? While his prisoner, Gwendolyn and Bernard have many sparring interludes that lead to kisses, but all the while his face remains hidden from her. She has no idea who he really is and frankly she's getting fed up with being his prisoner and this game of his, even if he dresses her in finery and feeds her with delicacies fit for a princess. It's apparent he wants to bed her, but the gentleman in him won't deflower a virgin. Yet, still he wants her. Big bones and all.
I have to admit, I grew bored with this long, drawn out imprisonment and wanted something to happen! I really wanted to like this story, but it just wouldn't move forward! It seemed like her time locked in his castle went on forever and the story just wasn't going anywhere! His friend Tupper and her sister Kitty's storyline was more lively and interesting than Gwen and Bernard's! I sympathized much more with Tupper, who pretends to be the dragon to get Kitty interested in him. In comparison, Gwen and Bernard s plot line was just kind of... dull. I never quite felt that the love growing between them was believable. She takes an eternity to warm up to him and I just couldn't remain interested in what was happening. No chemistry between the two, as far as I was concerned.
The Bride and the Beast wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. Unfortunately Teresa Medeiros is one of those hit or miss authors for me and this is a ... miss. I found the plot line uneven and it wasn't too hard to figure out who the traitor was even though both Gwen and Bernard are suffering from misplaced guilt, convinced it was their fault that the British came and sacked the castle fifteen long years ago. I didn't have much sympathy for anyone (except Tupper). It annoyed me that Bernard was deceiving everyone, including Gwendolyn when he supposedly loved her and Gwendolyn's feelings seemed to run hot and cold for Bernard even after she knows the truth about him. It all became rather complicated and to top it off I kept on thinking poor Kitty and Tupper - their wedding day was upstaged by Gwendolyn and Bernard's!
Sorry for all of you folks who loved this book, but I just didn't get into it.