The China Bride

Written by Mary Jo Putney
Review by Rachel A Hyde

Troth Montgomery was born to a Scottish father and a Chinese mother and grew up in Macao. When her father dies she goes to live with one of his trading associates, who employs her as an interpreter and forces her to live as a man. Her dreams of escape to Scotland appear about to be realized when handsome Viscount Kyle Renbourne appears and begs to take her to the forbidden city of Peking and beyond. But is all goes horribly wrong, and Kyle ends up in prison under sentence of death — and Troth ends up becoming his wife in a traditional Scottish handfasting ceremony. What will his aristocratic family make of his foreign wife, and will her own family be glad to see her when she goes to visit them in Scotland?

I particularly enjoyed Putney’s descriptions of life in 1830s China and wished that the story had lingered longer there. Once back in Britain, the story settles neatly into the tramlines of a typical 19th century romance. Nevertheless, this is an entertaining although not particularly memorable romance (apart from the first few chapters) that would have done better without some episodes towards the end of the book that appeared to belong to another story altogether. If the whole tale had taken place in China, I feel it would have been more successful instead of being yet another romance that describes the Scottish Highlands, castles, mountains, accents and all.