Wednesday, May 13, 2020

66. The Highlander's English Bride

The Highlander's English Bride. (Clan Kendrick #3) Vanessa Kelly. 2020. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy] [adult* romance]

First sentence: Graeme Kendrick lurked beneath the giant elm, keeping his prey within sight. After losing the slippery Sassenach a few hours ago, he’d spotted the bastard climbing over the wall that separated Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park.

Premise/plot: Graeme Kendrick stars as the hero in Vanessa Kelly's newest romance novel--the third in the series. (I have not read the previous books in the series. All books star the Kendrick family, I believe. And their presence as a family is HUGE throughout this one. So perhaps fans of the other books will love this one more.)

He works as a spy for the King. Most of the time he tends to like things just the way they are--his love life uncomplicated. But. After "rescuing" a young woman from a thief, the lovely heroine, Sabrina, he finds it impossible for life to return to normal.

No matter his current mission, his current task, his focus is divided. She is always, always, always on his mind in an infuriating, captivating, charming way. And it is mutual. Sabrina may be protesting a bit too much about how frustrating Graeme is! She sure seeks out his company and all but chases him around.

My thoughts: I knew accepting this review copy that it might not be my cup of tea. On the one hand, I have a weakness for the Scottish accent/dialect. I also love Regency Romances. The setting being in Scotland itself and him being a spy--I thought it might lean a bit more towards mystery and action than bodice ripper. On the other hand, I am not a big fan of adult romances aka smut, aka bodice rippers, aka books where 90% of the plot focuses on the lusty desires of the characters and the obstacles that stand in their way. I wouldn't go so far as to say this one is 90% inclined that way--it's not quite that bad. But it didn't have enough history to be historical--none of the historical details actually felt historically right or appropriate. Sabrina might as well have been born in the year 2000. In fact, I would say most of the characters felt disconnected from the Regency time period. It had plenty of mystery intrigue--but in a clumsy sort of way where the focus was always not so subtly in how can this move the hero and heroine closer to each other. Can this dangerous moment bring them closer together in a physical way? So even though there was an attempt to keep throwing mystery and dangerous intrigues and fiendish plots at the hero in a juggling type fashion, it felt a bit off balance. It wasn't enough to shift focus off of the inevitably destined to be together forever couple.

As far as smutty romance goes, it's been a good while since I last read one cover to cover. (I rarely read this type of fiction on purpose.) I don't think it's worse than any other of its genre or sub-genre. Way, way, way, way back in the day I loved the Bridgerton romance series by Julia Quinn. I wouldn't say this one was as good as some of my favorites from that series. But as I said, it's probably been decades since I read this type of fiction for fun or review. 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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