Another new to me series and author on the blog today with the third in the Scottish-flavored Regency era Broadswords and Ballrooms series from Christy English. Please read on for my review, take the “Which Hero should you Date” quiz to find the perfect historical book man, read the excerpt and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of five copies of HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOT, book 1 from the Broadswords and Ballrooms series. But first:
How to Train Your Highlander
It took a bit of searching out background as I hadn’t read the earlier books in this series. The third that features Mary, a highland girl who is doing everything she can to avoid marriage, most particularly marriage to an Englishman: she doesn’t want to leave Scotland, and she persists in the ‘broad brush’ theory – all English are not to be trusted. I can live with that: a bit of recalcitrant heroine and some learning to happen. So here she is, again in a situation that will enhance her chances to meet and marry a suitable man, and she is fighting it with everything she knows.
Harry is the Duke of Northumberland, and is amused when Mary, upon alighting from her carriage orders him to carry her bags, mistaking him for a stable boy. Intrigued by the brash Scotswoman, Harry makes no moves to correct her mistake, or allow his staff to gently inform her of the error. Tired of being chased for his title by marriage minded misses and their mamas alike, Harry doesn’t bother to correct her, and she slowly warms to him, as his interest piques.
So, while the story is rife with coincidence, some more far-fetched than others, it is Mary and her steadfast determination to be THE winner in every encounter that shows her true bone-deep insecurities. I choose insecurities rather than stupidity, because I still see it as such, rather than a badly written attempt at true alpha female. Then Harry: he’s sweet and well-meaning, but deferring the unmasking to tell Mary the truth of who he is does rather serve to solidify her belief in the untrustworthiness of the English. But, he is amused by her, and there is no harm coming to him by allowing her the freedom to feel superior in status. These are two characters written without easily defined sharp traits: is she stubborn and stupid or simply stubborn and scared. Does he have the true traits of a beta, or does he feel confident and secure enough in himself to not let her silliness matter? Perhaps had I read all of the series, I could answer that more confidently, but I didn’t, and I can’t.
What I can say is the relationship develops with skill, and the two do have a chemistry that feels authentic and plausible. A bit of backstory and back and forth with Mary’s mother almost felt extraneous to the story and, for me, added more questions than answers. On the whole, Mary is a character that engenders strong emotions, there is no middle ground for her. And while that skill in building her character is apparent, it also may be to her detriment, since the emotions will swing distinctly between love and hate, and reading a story with a character you hate as a primary figure in a romance requires great growth in the character and a careful hand in the balance, and I am not convinced I saw that with Mary. Harry, however, was a bit more moderated in character and reaction: at times coming close to milquetoast against the fiery declarations. People looking for a series and characters that don’t quite fit in any conventional box will most probably enjoy this series.
Title: How to Train Your Highlander
Author: Christy English
Series: Broadswords and Ballrooms #3
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Scottish
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published on: 6 December 2016
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound
She's the Hellion of Hyde Park...
A foolproof plan to avoid marriage:
1. Always carry at least three blades.
2. Ride circles around any man.
3. Never get caught in a handsome duke's arms.
Wild Highlander Mary Elizabeth Waters is living on borrowed time. She's managed to dodge the marriage banns up to now, but even Englishmen can only be put off for so long...and there's one in particular who has her in his sights.
Harold Percy, Duke of Northumberland, is enchanted by the beautiful hellion who outrides every man on his estate and dances Scottish reels while the ton looks on in horror. The more he sees Mary, the more he knows he has to have her, tradition and good sense be damned. But what's a powerful man to do when the Highland spitfire of his dreams has no desire to be tamed...
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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