Is It Really Scot In Here?
Hmmmmmmm. Hello again, old friends. I’m back from the dead to tell you all about the latest release from Suzanne Enoch, It’s Getting Scot In Here, the first entry in her new series, Wild Wicked Highlanders. The publisher provided me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. The series centers around three Scottish brothers and the odd agreement that their parents made concerning their marriages. To sum up, (this is all in the prologue, so I’m not being spoilery) back in the day the Scottish Earl of Aldriss married a lovely English lass, Francesca, both because he was in love with her and because she had pots of money to save his beloved estate. He took her back to Scotland and refused to be what she deemed as civilized and he deemed as English. After the marriage he learned that the marriage contracts were written in a way that allowed her to hold the purse strings over her large inheritance. With the birth of their three sons, Francesca wanted to raise them to become gentlemen, but the Earl wanted them to run wild. Following the birth of their daughter, Eloise, the countess decided that she had had enough and that she was going to have at least one of her children grow up properly, thus she took her daughter to London and left her sons and husband in Scotland. Before she left, she and the earl made a deal, in order for her to continue to fund the estate, all three boys must marry before their sister and they must all wed proper English ladies, one of whom would be of her choosing. Seventeen years pass, Eloise gets engaged and the boys have the surprise of their lives when they find out the deal that their father has been keeping from them. They are shocked to learn that not only do they have to marry before their sister, but they have to marry English women or the estate will become impoverished. Thus begins our story. Are you with me? I know, I know, it’s quite a bit to start off with and it doesn’t really let up.
The book starts with the boys, men now, arriving in London. Coll, the eldest and heir, Aden the middle son, and Niall the youngest, have decided on annoying their mother the countess as much as possible in hopes that she will forgo the bargain. They have also drawn cards to decide which of them will be tasked with marrying the woman of her choosing, with Coll being the loser. Coll expects to find a biddable simpering lady, however the joke is on him, Amelia-Rose Baxter is no shrinking violet and she doesn’t wish to marry him any more than he wishes to marry her. Instead of recognizing her as another victim of arrangement made by their parents, he throws a bit of a tantrum and walks out of their first meeting, leaving his youngest brother Niall, ever the peacemaker, to smooth over the situation. After glimpsing Amelia-Rose, Niall is more than willing to do the smoothing. They have an instant connection and what follows is Niall courting her “on behalf” of his brother who has failed to show up for several days. Obvi, they fall in love, the situation is against them, feelings are felt, love is declared, the ending is happy. Tra la la.
Now for my thoughts. While I thought the idea had merit, I just didn’t connect with Niall and Amelia-Rose. I didn’t feel that they had all that much chemistry or that they were very interesting characters. There was a lot of angst and inner turmoil, but not a lot really happened for most of the book. I’m all for drama, drama, drama in a historical romance, but this is no Lorraine Heath angst fest, I felt like it just couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Which brings me to my next complaint, this book was too long, the beginning and middle were very slow. I don’t enjoy feeling like I should be at 75% then realizing that my Kindle only shows me at 50%. If this had clipped along at the pace of a Tessa Dare book, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. I also couldn’t stand the over use of the word barbarian, on one page alone it appeared three times. I felt like the wildness of the Scots was being shoved down my throat. Suzanne Enoch has been hit and miss for me, a couple of her books have become real favorites, while a few others were only middling at best, and one I even tossed in the DNF pile. All this being said, I actually really enjoyed the ending of this book! The last 25% or so was quite fun, probably because things were finally happening. I loved the way that the brothers worked together and their plan to get Niall and Amelia-Rose married was very entertaining. The machinations and true motives of Lady Aldriss on behalf of her sons were endearing. I would have only rated this a three star at best, but the ending raised it another half star for me. Surprisingly, while I did have quite a few complaints, I do want to continue to read this series. I found the secondary characters much more compelling than the mains, I want more from them. I loved Lady Aldriss and Eloise and their desire to have the boys in their lives. I also can’t wait to see what happens with Coll and Aden and who they end up with, they were both more interesting than Niall. All in all I give it 3.5 stars, mainly because of the ending.
If you are interested in reading more Suzanne Enoch, I highly recommend her Lessons in Love series.
If you are in the mood for a better version of rough Scot meets English lady, check out Tessa Dare’s highly hilarious When a Scot Ties the Knot.
If you are looking for some true historical angst with a side of witty repartee, Lorraine Heath is the queen, her series Scoundrels of St. James is fantastic.