Duo Review: Lyon’s Bride and The Scottish Witch by Cathy Maxwell (audiobooks) – narrated by Rosalyn Landor

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I wrote my reviews of these two audiobooks specifically to be published together, as this trilogy is very closely knit. I had originally hoped to include a review of book three, The Devil’s Heart, but for one reason or another, haven’t been able to listen to it yet, so it’ll appear at some point on its own.

Lyon’s Bride

They call him Lord Lyon, proud, determined— and cursed. He is in need of a bride, but if he falls in love, he dies. His fervent hope is that by marrying— and having a son—without love, perhaps he can break the curse’s chains forever.

Enter beautiful Thea Martin—a duke’s headstrong, errant daughter and society’s most brilliant matchmaker. Years ago, she and Lyon were inseparable, until he disappeared from her life without a word. Now she is charged with finding Lyon’s bride—a woman he cannot love for a man Thea could love too well.

The Scottish Witch

Portia Maclean believes she is beyond love and marriage. Then one moonlit night, while attempting a daring masquerade in a desperate bid to protect her family, she finds herself swept off her feet by a powerful stranger. His very touch makes her long for much more. But what will he do once he discovers she has betrayed him?

Ratings: Lyon’s Bride: B for content, A for narration
The Scottish Witch: B- for content, A for narration

Lyon’s Bride and The Scottish Witch are Books One and Two respectively in Cathy Maxwell’s Chattan Curse trilogy which tells the stories of three siblings – Neal, Harry, and Margaret Chattan – whose family was put under a powerful curse almost two hundred years previously.

Each book (including Book Three,) opens with a prologue telling the story of the curse from a different viewpoint. We learn how, in 1632, a young Scottish girl was cruelly jilted by her lover, Charles Chattan, and killed herself as a result. Over the girl’s funeral pyre, her mother, the witch Fenella Macnachtan, curses Chattan and all his decendants before consigning herself to the flames.

When a Chattan male falls in love,
strike his heart with fire from Above.
Crush his heart, destroy his line;
Only then will justice be mine.

Skipping forward to 1814, in Lyon’s Bride we meet Mrs. Thea Martin, a widow and mother of two boys who, although a duke’s daughter, was ostracised from her family when she eloped with a man of whom they did not approve. In straightened circumstances, she manages to make a living as a matchmaker and has earned herself a name for being able to find even the most difficult clients a suitable husband or wife.

Thea is by nature independent and somewhat stubborn, but she loves her two sons fiercely and, having been unhappy in her marriage, has concentrated all her efforts on their happiness, believing her time for romance has passed. Even though she arranges matches for a living and continues to believe in love, she is convinced it is not for her and has erected barriers around her heart to protect herself from feeling deeply and being hurt again.

Her most recent success in finding a wife for a very unlikely gentleman leads to her being offered an even more unusual commission. Neal Chattan, Lord Lyon, needs a bride, but his requirements are very specific – he wants a wife he can never love.

Thea is appalled. And it’s not just because the idea of making such a match goes against her principles; she and Lyon spent an idyllic summer together when they were in their teens, and knowing he’s a kind, decent man, Thea believes he deserves better. But he is adamant. He wants a family and children he can love (his own childhood having been, for reasons we discover later, rather empty and loveless) but because of the curse, doesn’t want to marry a woman with whom he might fall in love. He believes that if he can marry without it, he might have a chance of breaking the spell and his children will be able to live unencumbered.

Thea is naturally, and understandably, dismissive of the curse and at first refuses to undertake the commission. But circumstances conspire to make her acceptance a necessity and she reverses her decision, hoping that perhaps she will be able to turn Neal from his seeming desire for a miserable marriage.

You can read the rest of this review, and the review for The Scottish Witch at AudioGals

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