Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2016
Going into this I knew a hero who still mourns the loss of his deceased wife is not my cup of tea. In the heroine’s own words, she feels she is being forced to marry a man in love with a ghost. With that said, it seems if anyone has a chance at being a ghost buster, it’s the leading lady, Lady Marion. Ian is instantly attracted to her physical beauty, feistiness, dagger yielding ways, compassion, and courage in the face of danger. Yeah, she has his heart right from the beginning, folks, he just doesn’t want to admit to anyone, especially himself. It certainly helps it has been over a year since Catriona’s passing and Marion is her complete polar opposite in every way.
Having wed Catriona, a childhood friend, to help her avoid an unwanted arranged marriage, Ian did eventually fall in love with his sweet but very fragile/frail wife, who died from a long term illness. Having vowed to never open his Scottish heart to such pain again, he is racked with guilt over his immediate heart palpitations and unwanted longing for an English beauty, who from the second he meets her, keeps him on his toes. Unfortunately, Marion’s heart is the one that repeatedly takes a beating, after they marry under a direct order by the king. It’s a good thing she’s resilient and knows how to speak up/defend herself.
With writing that flows, authentic Scottish brogue, great supporting sub-characters, and an engaging storyline with twists and turns, I was able to endure the arrows to Marion’s heart each and every time Ian put his foot in his mouth...but barely. Honestly, someone needs to pull that handsome knucklehead aside and tell him wanting to be open and honest is one thing, but knowing when to keep your trap shut is important, too.
At 30% into it, when they share their first kiss, he’s a goner. But he still continued to remind everyone that no one will ever take Catriona’s place. But not to worry, he eventually comes to his senses. And that, my romance book-loving friends, is precisely why I took a chance on this romantic tale. You see, I was in the mood for a groveling hero and this author did not disappoint. When Marion is almost taken away from him forever, he’s brought to his knees and regrets ever fighting his love for her.
Title: When a Laird Loves a Lady, Series: Highlander Vows, Entangled Hearts (Book 1), Author: Julie Johnstone, Pages: 376, stand-alone, HEA, hero still mourns/loves his deceased wife, reluctant to love hero, hero has been celibate since before wife died, virgin/feisty/sassy/can depend herself with a dagger/caring/a good healer heroine, some VERY steamy scenes that do not highjack the storyline, heroine is abducted/injured, violent/jealous wanna be husband almost rapes her, dead wife sister drama, miscarriage scenario, some violence.
Romance Safety Gang: Hero still always loves/cherishes his deceased wife, but her memory is lessened due to Marion taking over his heart. I despise OW drama, would have preferred an unhappy previous marriage. This is was more tolerable only because from their first glance Ian fell for Marion, just was reluctant to love again.
Book 1 - When a Laird Loves a Lady (Ian & Marion), Pages: 376, 3/22/16
Book 2 - Wicked Highland Wishes (Lochlan & Bridgette), Pages: 310, 10/10/16
(This review is based on purchased book...not an ARC.)