This is the third book in Victoria Roberts’ Highland Spies series, and while I could definitely see threads of the prior stories, this book holds up just fine as a standalone. Generally, I’m not a fan of an overly young heroine, especially when the hero is almost twice her age. And I don’t love it here, either. Elizabeth is only 18 year-old, and while the book constantly reminds me that she is an adult of her time, 18 is, well, 18. And the hero is decidedly full-grown at 33. That being said, there were parts of the dynamic between them that I liked. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Elizabeth has been in love with Ian since she was 15 years old. But everyone just wrote it off as a childhood infatuation. Ian certainly never let himself think she could ever truly love him. He is a burly giant that intimidates men and women alike. But Elizabeth sees past that, to the kind and gentle man underneath.
As the story begins, Elizabeth and her sisters must travel back to England after the death of their uncle. Her sisters’ husbands and Ian escort them, since the men have to hold court with the King. Once they get there, she decides she wants her own chance at court. She is tired of mooning over Ian and figures maybe she will find a husband among her countrymen. Long story short, Ian finally realizes what he has been missing all along, just as Elizabeth snags the attention of other potential suitors. This, as someone is killing off the King’s advisors, adding an element of danger to it all.
So here’s the thing, while I didn’t love the big age difference, I generally enjoy an ugly hero, or one with low self esteem. One who sees himself anew through the eyes of his heroine. And this is definitely happening here. Ian is so sure no woman would want forever with him, I really enjoyed his realization that he was wrong. He totally makes a boneheaded move or two, but he tries diligently to rectify them. And once he recognizes his own feelings, he works hard to win Elizabeth. While there were times I could feel her youth, at least Elizabeth tried to stand up for herself and find a man who will return her love.
The story spends a fair amount of time on the danger plot and the political intrigue… maybe too much, if you’re not into that. But the book is well written and entertaining, even if it’s not emotionally gripping. I liked it, but I do wish the heroine were a few years older.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Kill or Be Kilt
by Victoria Roberts
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca