Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Received from publisher for review (via Netgalley) for TLC Book Tour
A young widow puts her sexy suitors to the test in New York Times bestselling author Julia London's scintillating return to the idyllic Scottish Highlands.
Widowed and forced to remarry in three years' time or forfeit her son's inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly and unwillingly bewitched.
Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy's brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.
I know that there is a wealth of Highland romance novels out there, but I am late to the game and this is among my first (outside of Outlander of course). And while forbidden relationships between Scot and English is a typical trope in romantic fiction, I do think that Julia London brings a breath of fresh air to this theme.
There were so many things to like about this book.
First of all, the atmosphere was palpable. I could feel the mists enveloping the valleys, see the crags and glens, and feel the wind and storms over the nearby loch. Scotland came to life, especially with regard to the treacherous passability of the Highland roads. The scenes that took place in the stronghold castle of the Mackenzie’s were beautifully wrought and I could see that castle and the set-up for the festival clearly in my mind.
I LOVED that the heroine is not a weepy wallflower, but rather a widow who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to explore life in the window of opportunity before she is expected to again marry. She isn’t expected to be inexperienced and learning her way through the world, she has been there before. It was refreshing. I also loved that her young son plays a rather significant role in the novel, not just that of a problem or unexpected surprise. He is actively involved with all the characters and I personally evaluated all Daisy’s suitors based on how they interacted with her son. The connection between her son and Cailean was almost more touching than that of Daisy and her beau. While Daisy has a few suitors, the serious contender is her childhood sweetheart, Robert, who has suddenly returned to the picture, and her infatuation with the Highland laird, Cailean. I was questioning Robert WAY early on – maybe just because I liked her with Cailean, but it was interesting how it played out. There was no typical misunderstanding between Hero and Heroine – they both knew the reality of the situation; Daisy needed to marry someone of English standing for her son, and Cailean was a Scot that would never be a fit – however, I really loved how it all played out. London was certainly able to connect me with the characters because I definitely had a few tears during Daisy’s departure from Scotland, which is unusual for me in a traditional historical romance.
The sexual tension and subsequent sex scenes are hot, and while not complete graphic, they are detailed. The back and forth sparring between Daisy and Cailean was fabulously done and built their relationship even more.
If you have read the first book in this series, Wild Wicked Scot, which I have not, you will be delighted to find a older version of that book’s Hero/Heroine in Cailean’s parents – and they do have a decent role in the novel, as does his brother, Rabbie, who will headline book 3.
In this first book of London’s I very much enjoyed my experience and will be happy to pick up book 3 soon.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Julia London:
Julia London has written many novels, you can find a complete list here, but the rest of the books in the Highland Grooms series are as follows:
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