Top positive review
Steamy Goodness Galore + A Solid Plot with a Twist (or 2!)
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2019
4 1/2 stars
Love me some smutty highlander historical romances with a twist of mystery, and Lynsay Sands delivers every time! I inhaled this book within one day because I was just unable to put it down!
"To Marry a Scottish Laird" is the second book in the Highland Brides series, and it begins about 20 years after book 1, which was a bit of a surprise to me, but it made it all the more enjoyable to revisit the main characters from book 1 ("An English Bride in Scotland") and see how things turned out with the long-term HEA.
Campbell ("Cam") Sinclair is the first-born son of the Sinclair laird who was once married but lost both his wife and unborn infant in childbirth; thus, he has decided marriage is not for him, despite his mother's desperate attempts to persuade him otherwise by inviting every eligible female in Scotland to their home. Weary of the non-stop female bombardments, Cam decides to roam the lands with a couple of his cousins as hired swords for various allies in the area. His quest takes him to the lowlands and into England where he comes across a lad being pummeled by a giant of a man attempting to steal the boy's pouch. Cam comes to the lad's aid and saves him, but he fails to notice that there are 3 other men with this ogre, and one stabs him in the back. After fending off the other two, he collapses, and is left to the mercy of the lad and/or the fates.
Joan is the daughter of the healer who served an English abbey for many years until her recent passing. On her deathbed, her mother begs her one last request: she is to deliver a message to the Laird and Lady McKay (the MCs from book 1) in the Scottish highlands. Her instructions included ways that Joan can defend herself on the potentially perilous and lengthy journey; one of these ideas involves binding her breasts, hiding her long blonde hair under a cap, and posing as a young man on a mission to deliver a message. When Cam comes to her defense, she feels obligated to care for him as he was injured in an effort to save her from a beating death. When he awakens, he sees the lad he saved, but cannot discern any facial features as he was beaten so severely, yet he stumbles upon the "boy" bathing in the lake and realizes "he" is actually a very appealing female.
Cam and Joan must try to fight not only their magnetic attraction to one another but also their growing feelings as a commoner can never marry a laird.... right?
What I liked:
--- Both MCs were imminently likeable from the get-go
--- The "dressed as a lad ruse" has been played often before as an HR story line, but this one worked better because her face was not a factor as it was beaten, so he wouldn't have been as much of a dolt as many of the male MCs are when they run around the countryside with a "boy" and not realize he's way too pretty and delicate to actually be one (also, the reveal happens early in the book, so they don't get very far along the path before her very clearly feminine assets are on display)
--- The twists in the book made it all the more interesting, even when I was able to guess the larger mystery of the story
What I didn't like:
--- The miscommunication angst gets old for me pretty quickly; thankfully, the female MC from the first book in the series intervened a couple of times to set them straight, but really - just talk to each other - ugh! :)
Overall, another very satisfying historical romance from Sands that hit on my must-haves: likeable main characters; some turns/spins on the tale; and a truckload (er, I mean, horse-drawn cartload) of steamy goodness galore!
Plot --- 4.5/5
Main Characters --- 5/5
Supporting Cast --- 4.5/5
Steam Level --- 4/5
Violence --- some (none domestic or gory)
Language --- minimal
POV --- 3rd