I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Highland Trouble #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 1, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the Publisher
After years of fighting in France, Sir Gavin Patrick longs for his Scottish home and for an easier life off the battlefield. However, laden with a shipment of orphans, a massive treasure to transport, and Lady Marie Colette—a sharp-tongued French heiress—Gavin realizes that the real battle is only beginning. Colette expects a painless trip as Gavin transports her to her Highland fiancé, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn…
Forced to pose as a married couple in order to sneak out of France, Gavin and Colette fight against their developing, forbidden attraction…all the while yearning to fulfill their pent-up desire.
I really enjoy Amanda Forester’s novels and I also enjoy novels that feature Highlanders as the hero, but for some reason this one just didn’t do anything for me. Gavin was ok, but I felt more could have been done to explore (and explain!) his backstory. Collette was a little blah. I understand she’s been very strictly raised to present a certain image to her father’s people, but this in turn made her boring and cold. Even the secondary cast, while interesting in theory, merely seemed to fill the plot-point-of-the-moment. Which is the unifying issue with this novel.
First, there isn’t much conflict to speak of. Gavin and Collette must travel to Scotland where Collette’s affianced husband awaits her dowry. That’s it. That’s the big “problem” of the novel and the rest simply centers around their journey. The sole emotional conflict is Gavin and Collette trying to come up with five hundred and one excuses why they can’t be together. Which I realize this is a typical part of most romance novels, but it should never be the *only* emotional conflict.
Secondly – and this is the big sticking point with me – Gavin, Collette, and many other’s characters’ actions seemed to do little else than fulfill whatever was needed to make that scene’s plot point happen. There are numerous times throughout this novel where a character, usually Collette, is speaking vehemently against “point A.” Then another character will show up and make a flimsy case for “point A.” Suddenly, the first character has changed their mind and is now a firm supporter of “point A.” A more specific example: Collette and one of her maids Pippa need to hide in the woods while Gavin explores a castle. So, of course, this means that the baby which hasn’t been mentioned for five chapters will suddenly begin screaming for no apparent reason, drawing the enemy.
And finally, what small conflicts do present throughout the book are solved by something or something that “just so happened” to be close by. Collette needs to escape from the tower? Let’s introduce the warlord’s son who just so happens to be locked in the tower as well and has a working knowledge of engineering. Collette’s affianced husband, who has been the primary stumbling block for Gavin and Collette’s HEA, just so happens to prefer to marry Collette’s maid whom he just met and the two are married immediately.
In conclusion, I never began to really care for Collette and Gavin, so I never began to care for their “problems.” When added to a plot that is just too far over the line of ridiculous and convenient, I’m left feeling both bored and cheated. I’m hoping it is a fluke because Ms. Forester’s books are usually much better than this.