This book did not ring my bell. It had hints of a forbidden romance and a sexy Highland laird, but it just did not engage me. There is a lot of narrative around the dialogue and wayyy too many cut-scenes that took me away from the core romance. And the romance itself was kind of meh.
Lady Alanna is betrothed to marry a marquess she has barely laid eyes on. Her sister jilted him and now her mother is forcing her to take her sister’s place. Alanna is a good girl, agreeable and pliant, and she plans on doing as her mother asks. But during a walk the day before her wedding, she gets lost in a snowstorm and is injured. Iain, the laird of the neighboring lands, stumbles upon her and spirits the unconscious woman to a nearby cottage for the night. He keeps her warm and mends her up before taking her back to his castle.
Poor Iain has an unwanted marriage on his horizon as well. He has just inherited an English earldom he never wanted… and a cousin who is insisting on becoming his bride. Iain feels nothing for her, but worries that he may need her guidance to learn to deal with the English. Penelope is a haughty brat, though, completely out of touch with the Highland way of life, and that could not be more obvious when juxtaposed to Alanna and the way she quickly settles in.
So Iain and Alanna become taken with each other right away, but both fight it because they think they should marry someone else. And each thinks the other is already taken. That’s pretty much the entire conflict. Not exactly insurmountable. I had real trouble believing either one of them could hold on to the idea of marrying someone they didn’t even like for as long as they did. Not that I really had deep emotion from them towards each other either, but at least they were interested in one another.
The author kept cutting away from the romance, though, for scenes with Alanna’s mother, her fiance, her brother, some random folks among Iain’s people, and every single person involved in transporting a letter from Alanna to her brother. These chapters bored me to tears. At first, they were minor annoyances and grew to be a true source of frustration. I didn’t care about the lady having a baby or 10 ways people embellished the story of Alanna’s rescue. All it did was fracture the already lackluster main story line.
The book wasn’t terrible. It was just slow and it didn’t really speak to me.
*ARC Provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
Once Upon a Highland Christmas
by Lecia Cornwall
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Avon Impulse