To Marry a Scottish Laird by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have no complaints about the author's voice or the characterization, but the plot was irksome, to say the least. The first 1/3 of the book was full of romance, anticipation, sex, and some heart-pounding, worrisome moments, but the last 2/3 of the book felt like a completely different story. The sex and romance disappeared and a new villain, new problems, and new motivations were introduced. It felt disjointed.
I feel like Cam found out that Joan was a woman far too early. There were so many missed opportunities for humour between the two of them. Also, Joan gave up her virginity *really* easily for someone that's petrified of becoming pregnant. I realize that they were in the moment, but as a healer who has seen all sorts of gruesome births, how could that not have popped into her mind?
The latter 2/3 of the novel was painfully predictable, and as soon as the ladies are poisoned by the cider, it's obvious who the culprit is. I don't get why it's a mystery, and I certainly don't get why these obtuse characters can't figure it out from the onset.
The epilogue is heartily disappointing. Why waste all this time on a new villain and new problems in the latter 2/3 of the book, when there was a perfectly good problem *right there*, plugged in from the beginning? Both had horrible fears of a pregnancy! Shortly after marrying, they could have found out that she was with child, and they could have spent time initially grieving, then deciding to go on mini adventures, or picnics (etc) on their "last days" together, realizing that all they wanted before she (potentially) died was to spend every moment together. It would have been heart-wrenching and beautiful, and it would have made the ending that much more impactful.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good adventure in my historical romance. I love nasty villains and devious plots, but this one was introduced so late that it felt like it was the beginning of a totally different story. If the author was so keen on having a villain appear in the latter 2/3 of the book, then my advice would have been to sneak a few peeks into the villain's head in the beginning 1/3. We needn't know their name, but just having a few thoughts, like "when is Cam going to be back? I've been waiting with these awful women for too long!", then at least a villain has been introduced, and the book flows from beginning to finish without feeling so disjointed.
This was my first Lynsay Sands book, and I'm very disappointed. I've heard good things about her other books, though, so I might give her work another shot. Fingers crossed that this one was just a fluke!
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Award winning historical romance author, Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.