Review: The Scottish Witch

Reviewed by Jen

There were things I enjoyed about this book, but it ended up a mixed bag for me.  I liked the premise: an entire line of men are cursed to die when they find love, thanks to the selfish actions of an ancestor.  Each book in the series follows a different Chattan man as he tries to avoid love and the subsequent death that will surely follow. In this installment, the hero is Harry Chattan, a man on a mission to break the curse in order to save his brother’s life.

Harry’s brother Lyon was the hero of book one. He fell in love despite his best efforts to avoid it and now he is at death’s door. Harry is trying to track down the witch who created the curse… or any witch, really, who could help get rid of it. His search brings him to the Scottish town where Portia has moved with her mother and younger sister.

Portia has essentially given up on a life of her own. At 27, she isn’t really swimming in prospects and –besides– her younger sister needs her help to find happiness, and that’s saying nothing of her selfish, widowed mother. But in the attic of their family home, Portia finds the spell book of Fenella, her witchy ancestor who started the Chattan curse.  When she finds out a new man in town is offering big money to find a witch, she aims to use the book to earn the money her family so desperately needs to survive.  Of course, her meeting with Harry sets them irrevocably on the path to love.

I liked both characters well enough. But I was put off by the progression of their relationship. First of all, their first coupling was way too abrupt and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with whether Portia was a willing enough participant.  The sex scenes, in general, felt rushed.  It seemed like we zoomed through a lot of things I would have liked to see really play out on page, rather than just be told that they happened.   I never really felt like I saw these two fall in love, even though they obviously do.

It isn’t bad. It just doesn’t live up to its potential.  –It’s also a HFN, as opposed to an HEA, which doesn’t bother me, but it may not sit right with all readers.

Rating: C+

P.S. I hate it when the cover models look nothing like characters in the book are described. Does this make me petty?

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Scottish Witch
by Cathy Maxwell
Release Date: October 30, 2010
Publisher: Avon

Review: The Seduction of Scandal

Reviewed by Jen

Lady Corrine is being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want.  While many other women consider Lord Freddie to be a catch, she sees his true colors.  But her parents won’t let her cry off, even after she finds him in bed with her maid.  So she does the only thing she can do: she runs away.

During her escape, she stumbles into the path of the notorious Thorn.  He’s something of a Robin Hood, stealing from the wealthy and greedy Lord Sherwin to help the common people.  He has a reputation as a dangerous man, but Corrine quickly figures out his true nature.  Thorn agrees to hide her until she outlasts her engagement, because he realizes that she puts his true identity at risk.

All of this is pretty engaging, especially since we know that Thorn’s alter ego has been nursing a crush on Corrine for years.  But Corrine goes from tolerating him, to respecting him, to being in love with him in the space of about five seconds.  In fact, when she declared her love for him, I actually flipped back in the book, sure I had missed something. It was that abrupt.

I liked the premise. The writing was smooth and the dialogue was engaging, but I was perplexed by the progression of the relationship.  The speed, of course, but then also Thorn’s continued reticence, even after it was clear Corrine returned his feelings.  I was satisfied well enough by the ending, but I felt like what was supposed to be a big surprise… was actually kind of predictable.

This book didn’t entirely live up to its promise. But there were parts I enjoyed, like Corrine’s spirit and Thorn’s true vein of heroism.  A little more than 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

The Seduction of Scandal
by Cathy Maxwell
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Avon