Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Review: In the Heart of a Highlander by Maggie Robinson

Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.

Ever since Mary Evensong’s elderly Aunt Mim got sick, Mary’s masqueraded as the owner of the Evensong Agency, finding housemaids and husbands and solving pesky problems for the peerage. Someday she’d like to shake off her silvery wig and spectacles and be the young woman she truly is, but desperate clients are waiting for “Mrs. Evensong” at the office.

Like a scandalous Scottish baron. Honor forbids Lord Alec Raeburn from explaining the suspicious circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, but he knows who’s responsible. He just needs to hire an actress to lure the scoundrel into a trap.

After listening to Raeburn’s story—and seeing him in his kilt—Mary knows the perfect person. Letting her red hair down, she heads off to the Scottish Highlands to pose as a seductress, but soon finds herself with more than her virtue at stake in a tug-of-war between two powerful men. She could wind up in danger—or in the heart of the highlander.

The Story in 4 Sentences or Less: Mary Evensong’s been masquerading as her aunt in order to keep Evensong Agency running but she longs for the day she’ll be able to go back to being herself instead of “Mrs. Evensong.” When Lord Alex Raeburn shows up at the agency looking for an actress to lure a suspected murderer into a trap, Mary sees it as an opportunity to get out of the old woman disguise and into the Scottish Highlands to play the role of a seductress. Only Mary ends up in over her head, she ends up being caught in the middle of two men: Lord Alec and the man he thinks is responsible for his wife’s death.

Like It? Hate it? Love it? Why? I loved the first part of the book where Mary’s tiresome role as her aunt Mim is wearing on her. It’s a prison of her own making and made out of good intentions. At first Mary came across as a straight to the point, intelligent, brave woman who offers herself up as bait to catch a potential killer. I enjoyed her and Alec’s back and forth attraction and a grumbly hero is always a plus.

But to me the romance didn’t feel natural. It felt a bit forced and on the insta-love side. They’re trying to trap a potential killer but sometimes it felt that Alec was hiding more than he let on. Yet here’s Mary all but throwing herself at him at times with no self preservation at all. Towards the end of the story, it seemed Mary had regressed into a child, being over the top jealous of Alec’s dead wife, making questionable decisions (I suppose to make Alec seem like more of a hero when he had to rescue/protect her). It felt like she got lost in all the mad shuffle to solve the murder and Alec’s manliness. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good looking hero but I’m not fond of “dumbing” down the heroine just to make the man seem more heroic and well, manlier.

I didn’t write In the Heart of the Highlander off completely though because while I wasn’t all in with Alec and Mary, I loved Alec’s brothers and the unexpected humor throughout the book.

Click It or Skip It? Borrow It. I wouldn’t buy this book for myself but I would borrow it just to refresh myself with characters before starting the next book in the series.

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