The Scottish Bride (Bride Series)

The Scottish Bride (Bride Series)

by Catherine Coulter

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A Vicar, widower, and father, Tysen Sherbrooke is unprepared for the courageous spitfire who comes into his life when he becomes a Scottish baron.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780515129939
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/2001
Series: Catherine Coulter's Bride Series , #6
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 400,375
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.97(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Catherine Coulter is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the FBI Thrillers featuring husband and wife team Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. She is also the author—with J. T. Ellison—of the Brit in the FBI series. She lives in Sausalito, California.

Read an Excerpt

Night Ride Home

By Barbara Esstman

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Barbara Esstman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006097754X

Chapter One

Clea Mahler

My brother Simon died with his eyes open, staring blue into the sky. Out of the corner of my eye I had seen him fall, but at first when I turned I thought he was joking, splayed out like a snow angel in the grass. No blood, no marks on his body. I didn't believe he could be hurt, let alone dead. My mother's mare, Zad, the gray Arab he had been riding, turned back, nuzzled his hand, and snorted. Then the morning pulled tight and held so quiet that I could hear the horses breathe and shift and rustle.

"Simon," I said.

My little gelding tossed its head and mouthed the bit.

"Simon," I said again, angry that he would frighten me. It would be just like Simon to pretend for a second that something was wrong, just to get me to laugh in relief a minute later. Then I went sick deep in my belly that this might not be a trick.

"Simon, stop it," I said.

When he wouldn't answer, I dismounted but stayed a few steps away, afraid that he would leap at me or grab my hand. When I finally worked up the nerve, the warmth of his skin made me jerk back. His head rolled sideways as if he had turned to tell me something.

I knew in that instant he was dead. I mounted and kicked the bay hard, riding low over its neck withmy legs banging and its sides lathering. I could not find its rhythm and gripped the edge of the saddle for balance. What I thought about then was not that I might be thrown and killed, as apparently had happened to Simon, but that my fingers pressed between the blanket and ridge of the horse's back were warm in that space between its shoulders.

The day broke into odd pieces: Black mane whipping and green grass blurring. The stripes of the saddle blanket, and the bright, hot air like a solid through which I was only dreaming I made my slow, thick way. And always Simon's blue eyes staring down from the sky and up from the ground and out from inside me.

When I came galloping up from the low fields with Zad trailing behind the way she always followed like a dog, my mother, Nora, stood up from the rosebushes she was pruning, her hand shading her eyes. Then she ran, her head back and fists pumping like a sprinter. She got to the gate before I could unfunible the latch and stood with her hands against the bay's rump and withers as if trapping me in her arms for just long enough to see if I was all right.

"Where's Simon?" she asked. "Did Zad throw him?"

I nodded yes, and she grabbed for Zad's reins. As she mounted, one foot in the stirrup, Zad turned in an excited circle around her.

"Get help." She slapped the mare's haunches to knock it out of its turning and threw her leg over its back.

I watched until she disappeared down the trail at the edge of the pasture. Then I left the gelding in the paddock and ran to the house to call my father, Neal, at work, and the feedstore, where Ozzie Kline, the hired man, had gone. My voice was shaking so I could hardly give the operator the numbers or explain clearly when I got through.

"Stop blubbering, Gea," my father shouted. "Is Simon hurt?"

"Yes," I told him, afraid to say more and make it certain.

Ozzie arrived at the same time as my father with the doctor, driving fast down the lane one behind the other. I'd saddled each a horse. My father hesitated a second before mounting his, but he followed silently as I led the men down the bluff. I rode at a fast trot down the middle of the trail so none of them, especially Ozzie Kline, could come even with me. As we came out past the tree line, I could see my mother as she leaned over Simon, her body shielding his. I could only think of a photograph I'd seen of a Civil War battlefield, with bodies arranged like frozen dancers in beaten-down grass, arms flung out and backs arched against the sky.

The men rode past me, and I reined in the bay. I wouldn't go near Simon, though I watched the doctor pass his hands over the eyes to close them. I turned my horse to face the river, hidden down the slope of its banks at the edge of the pasture, my back to the men, whose voices sounded like the baying and yelping of pack dogs.

But I had already seen, too much and remembered too clearly: Simon and I on our way to the river to see how high the last rains had brought it and how it was leaking over its channel into the lowest spots of the bottoms land. Simon asking questions I didn't want to know the answer to and then staring up at me from the grass.

My father had told my mother that this year the water would reach the house and make us sorry we lived on the floodplain between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. He'd also told her not to let Simon ride Zad, that she was too spirited. But my mother didn't listen any more than Simon to what she didn't want to hear.

My father was right about Simon riding Zad, but for the wrong reasons. It was not Zad's fault. She had stumbled over the rock and slid on the wet ground. I'd heard her hoof strike with a hollow ring and turned just in time to see her knees bend as if she was dropping to prayer. It wasn't her fault, but Simon's for riding with the reins loose and one knee up on the saddle, even after I'd warned him that the trail was slippery.


Excerpted from Night Ride Home by Barbara Esstman Copyright © 2006 by Barbara Esstman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Andrea Barrett

In this richly layered love story, Barbara Esstman reminds us of the power of first attachments, and the peril of leaving them behind. -- Author of National Book Award-winner Ship Fever

Susan Richards Shreve

There are not many wonderful American love stories, but Barbara Esstman's Night Ride Home is one of them. -- Author of The Visiting Physician.

Geena Rizzo

"An extraordinary, beautiful, and original love story presented in such a way as to guarantee an unforgettable reading experience...This masterful achievement by a relative newcomer heralds a new writing sensation for the twenty-first century."

From the Publisher

“A good storyteller…Coulter always keeps the pace brisk.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Ms. Coulter is a one-of-a-kind author who knows how to hook her readers and keep them coming back for more.”—The Best Reviews

“Coulter is excellent at portraying the romantic tension between her heroes and heroines, and she manages to write explicitly but beautifully about sex as well as love.”—Milwaukee Journal

“Coulter instinctively feeds our desire to believe in knights in shining armor and everlasting love—historical romance at its finest.”—

“One of the genre’s great storytellers.”—Kansas City Star

“One of the masters of the genre.”—The Newark Star-Ledger

“Catherine Coulter is one of the best authors of exciting thrillers writing today.”—Midwest Book Review

Carolyn Banks

"Simply and wonderfully told."

Cathy Sova

"A gripping novel about love, loss, and betrayal... I highly recommend Night Ride Home. Nora will linger in your thoughts for a long time to come."

Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary
Set in a small town outside of St. Louis shortly after World War II, Night Ride Home is the story of a family coming to terms with the death of its eldest child, Simon. Simon's mother Nora boards and trains horses on a farm inherited from her grandmother, though Nora's husband Neal resents her passion for them. After Simon is killed in a riding accident, Neal shoots the horse that Simon was riding. The horse was Nora's favorite--a beautiful and spirited Arabian. Neal then sends the rest of the horses away, and tries to sell the farm. When Nora refuses to leave, Neal moves to Chicago and takes their daughter Clea with him. Neal seeks to define the life Nora will take up in the wake of Simon's death. But another man, Nora's teenage love, Ozzie, returns to the farm in an attempt to help Nora piece together a life of her own choosing.

In five alternating voices, Night Ride Home examines both the bitter grief and the binding love of the extended Mahler family. Neal's voice rationalizes his desire to control his family. Nora's voice stumbles through the maze of her sorrow. Clea, the daughter, walks a fine line between her parents. Nora's mother, Maggie, examines decisions made in her own her life. And, finally, the ranch hand Ozzie opens his battle-weary heart to love.

Topics for Discussion
1. Simon Mahler's grandmother Maggie laments: "A child should not die before his parents. A terrible disorder was at large in the world." But Simon's death creates a "disorder" that goes beyond the tragedy inherent in the loss of a child. In many ways, Simon was the hub that connected the characters who narrate the novel. What didSimon mean to the other characters?

2. The novel reveals a variety of responses to grief. The townspeople admire Neal for his restrained response to Simon's death, and shake their heads at Nora's "hysterics." But experts tell us that an emotional response to loss is a normal, healthy response. Contrast how Neal and Nora respond to Simon's death. Are there "right" and "wrong" ways to grieve? What are they?

3. When the tragedy occurs, Clea is a girl on the brink of becoming a woman. She retreats to her room and both literally and figuratively attempts to disappear. What has been modeled for her by the women in her life? Does she repeat or rebel against what she has seen?

4. While some experts contend that electroshock therapy has been used effectively to control depression, Esstman's research revealed that shock therapy was also used during the time period of Night Right Home on women deemed too independent by their husbands. What do you think was behind Neal's decision to subject Nora to shock therapy--a desire to help Nora or to subdue her independence? What responses to "undesirable behavior" occur today?

5. Ozzie was wounded in W.W.II and spent years wandering. He tells us that he "had dreams a lot, about dead men that I believed I could have saved." Today we might say that a veteran like Ozzie suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. How does the war appear to have affected Ozzie in ways of which even he is not aware?

6. Farm life is tied closely to the natural cycle of the seasons. The four sections of the novel correspond to the four seasons--spring through winter. What happens in each season? Do the events of each season reflect our common notions of spring, summer, fall and winter?

7. Late in the novel, Nora breaks down in Ozzie's truck after he has brought her to see an Arabian filly, Malaak. Why does Ozzie bring her back to talk to the filly's owner? What is he asking her to do? How is this the turning point of the novel for Nora?

8. Quotations from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda precede each section of the book. How do the epigraphs reflect the events and the themes of the novel?

9. Five characters take turns narrating the chapters of this book. Esstman has said that these are "all characters who have buried part of the truth." What do various characters see that others have "buried"? How would this novel be changed if it had a single narrator?

About the Author
Barbara Esstman was born in Carroll, Iowa, and grew up in St. Charles, Missouri. Like her character Nora in Night Ride Home, Esstman broke off a relationship at age nineteen to a young man who went off to war. Decades after her former boyfriend returned from Vietnam, Esstman reconnected with him. Much of her character Ozzie--his love of horses, his battle scars, and his long silence--Esstman says she learned from his real-life model. The book's dedication, "To 'Naldo from Rosie," refers to this relationship. "The novel," says Esstman, "is true in the deepest sense, though Oz and Nora are invented out of air and exist on a farm that never was."

After graduating from St. Louis University, Esstman taught high school English. During the years that her three children were young, she left teaching and the family moved frequently. For the last 15 years, Esstman has lived outside Washington, DC in Oakton, Virginia. Today she teaches occasionally but devotes most of her time to writing. Her three children come home often and fill the house with friends and pets.

Esstman's first novel, The Other Anna, was published in 1993 and was adapted for a television movie, Secrets. She is now at work on her third novel.

A Note from the Author:
The first image of what would become Night Ride Home was of a woman very alone in the center of Missouri farmland with something of death around her. I didn't know her, nor why she was paralyzed by grieving. I wouldn't suspect for two years that she might fall in love. But I did recognize the place: St. Charles, the small town outside of St. Louis where I grew up. The town of St. Charles was transformed into the place of the novel, Lacote--built on low hills along the Missouri River and surrounded by farmland, much of which was on flood plain. One of my earliest and most powerful memories is standing with my father on a day in 1953 when the river was so high that it overran the river's steep bank.

Rivers and floods, whether real or imagined, shape those people who live with them. While some humans are arrogant enough to believe they can control whatever they put their minds to, floods give a lesson in humility and respect for forces greater than our own.

When the land begins to reappear after a flood, we see it piece by piece, the way we do the parts of an answer to a problem we are working out. Or the scenes of a novel being written. Nora, the woman in Night Ride Home, has to try to rebuild her life bit by bit after the death of her son, a death she can no more stop than the Missouri River that floods her land.

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The Scottish Bride (Bride Series) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was apprehensive about this one--it had been in my TBR pile forever, and the last book I read by Coulter was pretty much unreadable. This one wasn't as bad, but you can see the development of the unreadable style--abrupt transitions and dialogue in which the characters don't seem to be actually speaking to each other, as their statements are unrelated (not an actual example, but this sort of thing: "Nice weather out today." "My dress is blue."). I wonder if it's her writing that's just continued along this path, or if it's always been like this and she has a new editor that doesn't keep it in check. Anyway, despite it being more comprehensible, there's not much of a story. This is one of those rare occasions when a full-length book would probably work better as a novella. It's ostensibly about a serious, widowed (widowered?) vicar who unexpectedly inherits a Scottish barony, travels to it, meets a woman who brings light and laughter back into his life, marries her, his congregation objects to the change in him, and he has to somehow reconcile his serious faith with his newfound happiness.It's a good premise. But the story completely loses sight of the goal. Long, long passages, chapters even, are devoted to really dull minutiae, including visiting every single couple from what has apparently been a pretty long series, and listing every one of their innumerable offspring, while the plot's off in the corner somewhere taking a snooze.
jadelennox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If only this book could have been written while being true to the series' earlier characterization of Tysen. Had Coulter been willing to write a priggish, bookish, weedy little man as a hero, The Scottish Bride might have been an original and clever tale. Unfortunately, Coulter's books only contain one hero-type. In order for Tysen to get his own book, he has to go through a major character transformation and become identical to his brothers. His priggish past gets retconned as the fault of his terrible (and now dead) first wife.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. I look forward to reading many more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Several books in this Bride series were written some time ago but still very good reading. Should read the entire series to enjoy each and every book. Did not want to put the book down to get other things done. Good reading. This author is a very good author. Would recommend reading other books which I will do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall this had to be in the top five of worst books I have ever had the displeasure of reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good storie
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was such a boring and unexciting book. There were no sparks between Tysen and Mary Rose. This book is not worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Bailey has a beautiful voice and brings individual depth and reality to each character. I loved hearing the name Mary Rose spoken by her characters. I loved the characters, especially little Meggie, Mary Rose, and Tyson Sherbrooke. I felt there to be more reality of character in the man, Tysen Sherbrooke. After all, how many rakes are there in the world...although I suppose both my husbands were before I married them. I believed the love making between Mary Rose and Tysen to be more realistic. This according to me is a tender and warm-hearted story not only between two people, but also family. I loved it! I did not read any of the other bride series by Ms. Coulter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this series and just learned of this fourth installment. It did very little for me. I believe Ms. Coulter to be a great writier but she missed the boat with this one. I mean there were things in the last book that should have continued with this one and they didn't. I mean where's Alex's baby? If you read the previous bride books you know what I'm talking about. But every author has to have one bomb. I guess this was it for Ms. Coulter. She's a magnificent author and love tons of her stuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very good if you have already read the first three'bride' series. If not then you should read those first because if you started with this one, you will most likely to find it boring. This book is the last book of the bride series. You could follow the outcome of those first three couples and any children they had. And you will also follow the romance of the new couple. I like this book because most romance I read I was left hanging. I only knew that they got married or have a child, but almost never know about afterward.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading 'Mad Jack' 2 years ago, I have never purchased another Catherine Coulter book. A friend of mine gave me 'The Scottish Bride', and now, having read it, I'd never let anyone even GIVE me one of her books. My time is much too valuable to me to be wasted so thoroughly! Catherine Coulter used to be one of my favorite writers, and I'm sorry to say this, but she's completely lost the magic. If this group of pathetic nitwits is all she can come up with, she needs to retire--And right away, before another person flushes 7 bucks down the toilet on her garbage! To insult the intelligence of your readers so badly is unconscionable at the very least, and a blatant rip-off in my estimation. What must Catherine Coulter think of us, the readers, when she's writing this idiotic drivel? Obviously she's not thinking of us at all...Is she thinking...anything? Avid Readers, do yourself a favor, don't waste your money or your time on this book, it's very nearly as stupid, shallow and bad as 'Mad Jack' was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first Catherine Coulter book I have read and I throughly enjoyed it. The book started out a little slow but picked up about mid-way. Although I thought the ending was predictable I did enjoy an old fashion romance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was great. I wish she could put more book out a year. Keep up the good work