Review: Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start by saying I have read other books by Julia London and have enjoyed them. I say that so you know it’s nothing I have against the author when I say how abysmal I found this book. This is the story of Rabby MacKenzie, a Scotsman being forced into marriage with a young English miss, then falling for her governess. I hated every minute of it.

Let me tell you about Rabbie. He is the most morose, maudlin, douchebag of a “hero” I’ve read in ages. To be fair, the love of his life was killed in the Jacobite rebellion. He’s got a reason to be sad and to hate the English, but this guy is miserable for the entire book. Not only that, he is thoroughly awful to everyone around him. He only agreed to marry Aveline because of some convoluted land issue that would allow his family to keep smuggling. OK. But good grief, he is constantly contemplating suicide. He is a boor, not only to his betrothed, but his entire family. And when he falls for the governess, Bernadette, he becomes no more likable.

Let’s talk about the heroine now. Bernadette was cast from society after she eloped against her father’s wishes. Her husband was forced into the navy and died at sea. Now, taking care of Aveline is all she has left. She was a governess to the girl who 12 years her junior, and now that Aveline is 17 and about to wed, Bernadette has become her ladies maid. (Sidebar — Yes, the 35 year old hero is supposed to marry a 17 year old girl. **shudder**) Anyway, Bernadette claims to care for the girl, but then proceeds to suck face and get horizontal with her fiancé because they have some enemies to lovers thing happening that I never believed beyond lust.

And while we are the subject of Aveline, you might expect that at least she is a sympathetic character, but you would be wrong. She is immature beyond measure and a self-involved twit. She has virtually no backbone and no concept of reality. Her mother is a scared mouse and her father is an even bigger dick than Rabbie (which is saying a lot.)

So, yeah, all the players are completely unlikable. The romance is both unbelievable and uninspiring. The pacing was uneven. There was too much political stuff. And the ending. What was supposed to be the set up for the HEA was trite and made me a little rage-y. The heroine can’t have kids, so Rabbie up and decides to adopt the orphans from his dead fiance’s family and literally dumps them in Bernadette’s lap without consulting her. While I appreciate that the author did not miraculously allow Bernadette to get pregnant, I hated the way it unfolded. What happened with Aveline in the end didn’t sit well with me either.

This book was just not for me on so many levels.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hard-Hearted Highlander
by Julia London
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin

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