Where to start with this book… It’s not that it was a bad book, but it wasn’t a great book either. Overall the story was good and the writing was better than many of the romance novels I’ve read, but at the same time I felt the author could have done better.
I have to partially wonder if I stack the decks against this type of novel when I generally read them after having finished a tome of a classic (this time it was Middlemarch). But at the same time I have to think that it should still hold up regardless of what precedes or follows it. I will say that this book was definitely further along in the editing process than many of the galley’s I’ve read previously which was a nice change. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
As I said above, the book was a good read and I flew through it as it is just under 100 pages. The story was engaging enough to keep me interested and the steamy scenes were few and far between which I appreciate more than just a book that’s all steam and no story. I wish there was more character development as I felt there was a lot more to all of the characters but especially Tavish’s sister and mother and Iain’s father. There were enough hints about all three of these characters that I would’ve loved to know more!
If there was one scene that made a major impact from the book, it was the final scene. As I read, I felt the rest of the book was a headlong rush to this final scene, it was definitely worth it. The last two chapters were enough to make me stop and question if I wanted to keep reading because it could go one of two ways, one you want for happily ever after and one you want for safely ever after. Gormley conveniently provides both and leaves the reader with a smile on their face and a sense of hope for the future.
Aside from what I enjoyed about the book, there were three things that detracted from the story. The first, as I always say about this genre, was the length. With only 86 pages you barely get to even meet the characters let alone build a fondness for them. I mean Gormley clearly did a good job as I want to know more about minor characters, but it’s just too short!
The second issue I have may have tied in with the first, but for an author to write in a country as beautiful and historic as Scotland and completely ignore the surroundings and the setting baffles me. The majority of the novel was dialogue and although I felt the dialogue was decent and believable, there was very little-to-no description about the buildings or the surroundings or the festivities, or anything that takes place other than the sex scenes. There are just enough hints to make you want to know more, but I couldn’t actually figure out whether the novel’s setting was Scotland or Ireland until I got to the end of the novel and searched for a non-English phrase and found out it was a traditional Scottish blessing. I guess ‘Laird’ does denote Scotland, but I didn’t make that assumption.
My final issue with the book was the transition between the character’s dialogue and the narrators language. I appreciated Gormley’s ability to write in Scottish vernacular, but there was such a harsh disjointedness between the Scottish vernacular and plain (American) English. This didn’t distract too much, but it was enough for me to take notice of it as I was reading.
Recommendation: Definitely worth a read with the usual caveat of make sure you’re comfortable with same-sex sex. Although my response seems to have more negatives than positives I thought the story was well told, there were just a few style things that I had issues with.
Opening Line: “Iain Munro recognized the gelding tethered to the post outside the thatch-roofed stone cottage he called home.”
Closing Line: “As Tavish’s eyes widened, Iain took his hand, and Tavish allowed himself to be led to their bed.” (Whited out.)