Review: A Devil in Scotland

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Devil in ScotlandA Devil in Scotland (No Ordinary Hero, #3) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #3
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320

FINAL DECISION: Solid romance with an good danger/suspense/mystery story. I felt the romance was missing some real resolution of the past, but I enjoyed the book.

THE STORY: Callum MacCreath left Scotland ten years ago when his childhood friend agreed to marry his older brother. Now his brother has died (and Callum believes that foul play is involved) and Callum has returned as heir. Callum will do anything to punish those involved in his brother’s death — even if, and especially, if it is Rebecca.

OPINION: This is a cross between a second chance at love story and a former friends to lovers story. Callum and Rebecca had a closer and adventurous childhood together. When Rebecca grew up and chose a settled and responsible husband (who happened to be Callum’s older brother), Callum realized that his expectations regarding Rebecca would not be realized. Callum was disreputable — he spent his time drinking and wenching and his feeble attempts to pull Rebecca away from his brother resulted in Callum being banished from his family.

Callum was devastated by Rebecca’s acidic words which said that he was not a worthy man in any respect. For ten years, he used her words to fuel his transformation into a successful businessman in America. But losing her haunted him despite his attempts to hate her.

After discovering that his brother has died, Callum returns to Scotland in order prove that he was murdered. His plans change when he encounters Rebecca again and meets his niece for the first time.

The plot of this book is centered on the death of Callum’s brother. Callum believes he knows who is responsible and is determined to get revenge.

My favorite part of this book is how Callum and Rebecca deal with one another. Their relationship is wonderful because Callum cares about what Rebecca thinks and wants. He is willing to listen to her and change his opinion based on her opinions. Callum is also a darling sweetheart about Rebecca’s daughter. The child is not merely a plot device, but a character that shows what a good man Callum is.

What I wasn’t convinced by was the resolution of the past. I just didn’t buy that these two characters could resolve the scene and events of two years ago in such a simple manner. Their relationship progressed too fast and the two didn’t really deal with Rebecca’s choice to marry Callum’s brother. Yes, there were some minor discussions, but they almost made it more difficult for me to believe because Rebecca confessed that she had romantic feelings for Callum before and after marrying her husband. While she might have been right that Callum was immature, he was also right and Rebecca never really acknowledges that. Instead, there is the constant refrain that sometime they will have to deal with the past — but they never really do.

But that is a minor criticism. The relationship now between Callum and Rebecca works and I liked seeing them deal with the current drama.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book resolves the villain’s story from the first two books in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A DEVIL IN SCOTLAND is the third book in the No Ordinary Hero series. This book operates as a standalone although characters from the prior books make small but significant appearances.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: My One True Highlander

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: My One True HighlanderMy One True Highlander (No Ordinary Hero, #2) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320

“My continued well-being would seem to be at your whim, sir,” she returned. “I wouldn’t call that level ground for an argument.”

A slight smile curved his mouth. “Ye do have a point.”

Arrogant man. Smiling at her as if he knew exactly how handsome he was and meant to use that to sway her weak little feminine brain into thinking him charming. Ha. And ha again. “I know I do.”

FINAL DECISION:  My enjoyment of this book grew as the story continued.  By the end, the relationship between Graeme and Ree was so sweet and romantic that I would highly recommend this book especially for lovers of men in kilts!

THE STORY:  Graeme, Viscount Maxton, is in a difficult position.  The Highlander is offered wealth and status if he helps the head of the clan defeat his enemy, the new Duke of Lattimer. Hearing the offer, Graeme’s three young brothers decide the kidnap the sister of the duke, who happens to be passing by.  Now Graeme has to decide what to do with the woman without implicating his brothers.  Lady Marjorie Forrester has recently been raised from a lady’s companion to a lady herself with her brother’s taking of the title.  Ignored in London, she desperately wants respectability but finds herself captivated by the wild land and the Laird of the castle.

OPINION:  This story built page by page until I was entirely enthralled when Graeme finally declares his love to Ree.  One of the best parts of this book is that both characters are so eminently likeable.

Ree is a woman who expected a life of service until the fortunes of her brother changed (he unexpectedly inherited a dukedom) and thus her life changed as well.  Determined to finally gain acceptance from society which had looked down on her despite her having the same education, Ree has lived a lonely life in London in the months since she became Lady Marjorie.  The story really pulls out the tension of Ree wanting to belong and being determined that those who dismissed her will acknowledge her while at the same time making herself miserable.  She isn’t able to accept the idea that she might actually belong in Scotland because it isn’t the future she imagined.

Graeme also has a blindness when it comes to Ree.  He doesn’t see her as a woman he could love — because Graeme is determined never to fall in love.  He has seen a destructive side to love which has made him shy away from that possibility.  Instead, he has been a wonderful brother and substitute father in raising his three younger brothers.  I loved that Graeme is such a responsible and caring man.

The relationship between Graeme and Ree develops with such a wonderful progression.  They start out as combatants as Ree is kidnapped by Graeme’s brothers and she is being held against her will.  The two argue and fight and have all types of their passion raised in the process.  While both have personal reasons for not giving in completely to their passionate attraction, the real issue keeping them apart is external rather than their own demons.  When they both acknowledge their feelings for one another, I really felt the walls coming down between them.  The scenes and language was so romantic and sweet that I could read them again and again.

The resolution satisfied, the characters are truly partners, and there are all kinds of possibilities for future books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Marjorie’s brother makes a significant appearance for those who have read the first book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MY ONE TRUE HIGHLANDER is the second book in the No Ordinary Hero series.  This book can be read as a standalone, but is much better with the background from the first book in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Hero in the Highlands

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Hero in the HighlandsHero in the Highlands (No Ordinary Hero, #1) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on October 4th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

“Adam looked liked he’s swallowed a bug.  Gabriel, though, didn’t feel nearly as annoyed as his aide looked; she’d called him by his given name in front of someone else.  It shouldn’t have mattered in the slightest, but it did.  Covering his abrupt urge to smile by turning his back to collect Jack, he couldn’t explain even to himself what seemed to be happening, except that in the midst of this chaos and fristration at the stubborn nonsense keeping him from his duties, he felt…easier.  Not quite relaxed, because God knew he’s stepped from one battle direction into another, but lighter.  Because of her, and her relentless pushing at his well-established sensibilities.  It would never serve him in Spain, but here humor seemed to be an essential part of dealing with Highalnders and the Highlands.  And it felt like it had been a very long time since he’d laughed.”

FINAL DECISION:  The is an enjoyable read that is focused a lot on the plot.  The romance between Gabriel and Fiona is not that complex.  Definitely external problems that keep these two apart.

THE STORY:  Major Gabriel Forrester has dedicated his life to military service when he learns that he has inherited a dukedom he had no knowledge of.  Traveling to Scotland, Gabriel intends to investigate his holdings, put things in order and return to the war on the Continent.  When he arrives at his property, he find a curse, Highlanders unhappy with the arrival of the English Duke, sheep theft, and a woman acting as steward.  Fiona Blackstock wants nothing more than for the new duke to leave but she doesn’t know what to do with the man who doesn’t act like any duke Fiona expects.

OPINION:  This was the first Suzanne Enoch book I’ve read.  I don’t know how it compares with her other books, but I certainly will be reading more.

The story has a slow building romance without much emotional drama between Gabriel and Fiona.  This is a book that is grounded more in the plot with the drama centered there.  Gabriel and Fiona have a little conflict in the beginning, but as they recognize that they can have common goals, the conflict recedes and the plot drama increases.

I really, really liked Gabriel.  He is an honorable man who is trying to do the right thing.  Despite the anger and dismissal that he experiences in coming to the Highlands, he always considers the feelings of others.  He can understand and empathize.  And when he decides that Fiona is for him, he jumps in with all his heart and mind and talents.  He is willing to change everything for Fiona.

I liked the development of their relationship as partnership. When Gabriel commits himself to Fiona, he shows his willingness to listen, to learn, to take her counsel.  Sometimes a hero who has not obvious flaws is boring, but not Gabriel.  He struggles with finding his place in the world.  He works on learning how to take what he has learned as a soldier and adopt that to a civilian world.

Fiona was a bit more of a cypher and I while I liked her character, I never felt that I understood her as well as Gabriel in this book.  I suspect that there is more to learn about some of the events that formed her (especially the disappearance of her brother), but for me, there was just too much I don’t yet know.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are lot of books featuring a Scottish hero and an English heroine.  I liked the switch of having an English hero and Scottish heroine, a twist I haven’t read a lot of before.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HERO IN THE HIGHLANDS is the first book in the No Ordinary Hero series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.