Thursday, May 21
Highland Scandal by Julia London
April 21, 2009
From the publisher:
On the run from the wrathful Prince of Wales, Jack Haines, Earl of Lambourne, is taken prisoner by a Highland laird who makes him an unusual offer: if Jack handfasts his niece, then his life will be spared. The old Highland custom--a marriage lasting only a year a day, unless both parties agree to make it a lifelong vow--sounds preferable to Jack to being dragged to London in chains, and when he meets lovely Lizzie Beal, his dilemma starts to seem postively enjoyable.
Until the hellion vents her fury...on him!
Detesting the scandalous match that will end all her chances of making a respectable marriage, Lizzie can't abide living intimately with a fugitive nobleman bent on seducing her and then running off. But in teaching her the pleasures of a wife's duties, Jack sparks within them both a passion that will make him wish he could stay with Lizzie for longer than a year and a day...
I was eagerly anticipating this new series from Julia London, because I am a highland romance junkie. I mean what’s not to love, men in kilts, the oftentimes romantic Gaelic language, the raw beauty of the landscape, and did I mention men in kilts…I think you get the picture. I have read many of Ms. London’s romances, and have never been disappointed…until now. When I read the teaser line “You deserve to know what it is like to be wholly seduced” I thought, “wow”, which unfortunately turned into more of a “huh”.
I’m not going to go into much into detail about the book, because frankly the blurb on the back cover pretty much covers it all. It wasn’t until I got to about page two hundred, that the story final started to become somewhat interesting, but even then their story wasn’t scandalous. It all seemed like words on a page, and most of them forgettable. The emotions and the characters of Jack and Lizzie never really seemed to come alive for me. I thought the story might become more interesting when it is revealed that Jack’s father was an emotional and physical abuser, and Jack fears becoming like him. Yet very little is done with this fact. Lizzie is “almost” engaged to another man, but she and her almost fiancé give each other up without too much thought, or guilt. The few romantic scenes came off to me more “cheesy” than heartfelt declarations of love. But the biggest revealing disappointment for me was the moment Jack decides to appeal to the king on Lizzie's behalf, knowing by doing so he could be sent to his death. This kind of sacrifice almost always gets to me (we're talking major tears and heaving sobs...I'm a sucker for it), but in Highland Scandal this element failed to induce any sense of loss, or sacrifice, which is sad.
The story that I wish Julia would have written was the secondary romance between Lizzie’s handicapped sister Charlotte and the highlander sent to protect her, Newton. Charlotte was the family beauty, sophisticated and charming, with her pick of eligible and wealthy suitors, whose world came crashing to a halt after she became paralyzed from a horse riding accident. After the accident she becomes reclusive and bitter, mourns the loss of her dreams, resents the fact that she is dependant on the people that she loves, and feels guilty for being an added burden on their meager resources.
Newton is a modest highlander, who is sent to protect Charlotte when Lizzie is taken to her Uncle’s castle to become hand fasted to Jack. Despite Charlotte’s abrasiveness, a friendship blossoms between these two unlikely people, and Newton finds endearing ways to bring happiness back to her life. The reader is given very brief glimpses into their romance, but the few scenes we are gifted with are sincerely touching. I wanted more of Charlotte and Newton's romance, and less with Jack and Lizzie. Unfortunately, the epilogue written at the end of Highland Scandal concludes both love stories, so sadly we will never get to fully enjoy the more compelling love story between Charlotte and Newton, and that for me is truly scandalous.
Romance: 1.5 (based on Charlotte and Newtons story, otherwise would have been a goose egg 0)
Get 2 FREE books and a FREE mystery gift from eHarlequin.com
Join our book club and swap used books for FREE - PaperBackSwap.com