Review: Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

Reviewed by Ronelle

On his deathbed, Daisy Bristol’s husband imparts his final edict; after his death, she must remarry within three years or forfeit their son’s inheritance. News of Lord Chatwick’s command sweeps through London like wildfire, leaving the newly widowed Lady Chatwick with more suitors than she can shake a stick at. It might not be so bad if any of them were truly courting her, rather than the purse they would gain by marriage.

She has all but given up hope when she receives a letter from her long-lost love, now a captain in the British Royal Navy. Hoping to give him time to reach her and pledge his suit, Daisy takes her cousin and young son to her Scottish Highland estate. She doesn’t expect said estate to come with a powerful, breath-taking laird as a neighbor.

Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

***

At first, the plot of this one seemed pretty weak and Daisy’s almost violent insta-need for Callean was a little far-fetched. As in the first Highland Grooms novel, the hero/heroine were vehemently at odds with one another for quite a while and I almost DNF’d the book because it seemed like it would run the course of its predecessor.

I’m glad I kept reading, though, as once Daisy’s childhood sweetheart showed up, the story developed some intrigue, depth, and suspense.

Despite their cliché meeting and Callean’s initial resistance to Daisy’s shameless come-hithers, I really enjoyed these two. Both are feisty, strong-willed, and independent, but they’re also guarding their hearts. Though the romance is slow to build and little of sexual consequence happens between the main characters before the halfway point, the wait was so worth it. Personally, I prefer getting to know the characters and have reasons to give a damn about them before they hop into bed. Ms. London truly made me want these two to end up together. I appreciate the fact that, in general, her heroines don’t seem to be the genre-typical virginal shrinking violets. Daisy wasn’t afraid to go after exactly what she wanted and Callean was (eventually) more than willing to give it to her. They had amazing chemistry… but there was more to them as well. Their respective families played integral roles in this tale, and we get the opportunity to see them interact with those closest to them, rather than the romance being the solitary focus. Daisy shone as a mother and her son Ellis was a fabulous addition to the story. Her cousin annoyed me, but she was meant to, and if you read the first book in this series, you’ll recognize Callean’s family.

So yeah, there’s an actual story here, rather than just boinking in the Highlands.

Ms. London has a simple yet descriptive writing style and it wasn’t hard to get immersed in this story. The pictures her words painted of the characters and setting were nicely enhanced by Mr. Perkins’ narration. I’m usually a little leery of male narrators for romance novels, but in this case, he was an excellent choice. He pulls off a Scottish accent flawlessly, making it believable and natural-sounding. (If you’ve ever heard someone fake a brogue, you’ll know how badly it can mangle an entire story.)

Bottom line: A little predictable and slow to develop as anything more than a pretense for later sexy times, this was ultimately worth the read. I’m looking forward to the next novel in Ms. London’s Highland Grooms series!

Rating: B

**I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I ultimately ended up purchasing the audiobook, and this review is for that version.**

Click to purchase: Amazon

Sinful Scottish Laird
by Julia London
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin

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