I was disappointed in The Bride this time around. I originally read it sometime during high school, and I remember loving it at the time and thinking it was the best book ever. My experience this time (12+ years later) is just a taaad different. Julie Garwood is a great romance writer, one of the "pillars" of the genre. She is famous for melding heart-warming humor with romance in her novels, and her medievals are considered "classics." This is quite the accomplishment and makes for a fun, light and humorous read, right? This book even won the Rita Award in 1990! So why didn't this book do it for me?First, the set up: Alec, a powerful Scottish Highlander, is forced by edict of the English king to marry an English lass (FYI- the English and the Scottish Highlanders are very different and don't like each other.) He shows up with his buddy, has the hots for the impetuous, violet eyed and beautiful Jamie, marries her, and carts her off with him to the Highlands. And so the drama begins. First of all, the hero, Alec Kincaid, is kind of an ass. Yes, we get it, he's a warrior and all that, but he treats Jamie like she is an annoying nuisance (which she very well might be) and tried to make her insecure all the time. He also tries to bully and push her around and make her "succumb to his will," whatever that means even though he actually adores the hell out of her. Does he ever apologize? Nope! In the end Jamie "wins," but not because she is an equal partner or anything, but rather because she annoys him into surrender.In comes Jamie: Beautiful and violet-eyed, impetuous, (as evidenced by the fact that she likes to ride bare-back on her horse,) educated in the healing arts (as all heroines in medievals,) and a little bit of a meddling busy-body (which, in her case, is not supposed to be a bad thing.) She seems unaware of her "place" as Medieval society would dictate it and doesn't understand that she is supposed to be inferior and "obedient" to her husband, so she constantly questions him and badgers him about it. In her first week as wife of the laird, she manages to almost start three (or is it 4?) wars with neighboring clans, saves multiple lives, and earns the love and undying loyalty of nearly everyone in the clan.I really wish a few things for this book. I wish that Jamie was a little bit less of a well meaning ditz and more of an equal partner to Alec, who I wish was a little bit less of a jerk and a little bit more loving and supportive. I wish that there was more time in the book for Alec to realize that a woman can be an equal partner and a worthy opponent. I wish that Jamie didn't feel like she had to take care of everything and everyone and actually DEALT with the fact that her step-dad treated her like a servant and she feels like she has to be one in order to be accepted/loved. I wish there weren't these long dialogue bits where each of the characters would be talking about nothing (really, nothing!) and lose their train of thought. I wish there were more of the moments of brilliance and fun I found in the text like when Jamie and Alec first meet and their wedding night. This book had a lot of potential, and it was well written, but there was just something missing for me here.