The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne
Series:Victorian Rebel’s #5
Released: October 3, 2017
St. Martin’s Press
Reviewed by Sheena
Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him…more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity…
A marriage most convenient
Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own…
Favorite Quote: “I see no good men here.” A dark, cultured English voice, more menacing than the night surrounding them, hailed over the sound of the lapping water as the tide delivered the boat onto the Sannda Mhòr.
“And ye’ll find none,” Gavin replied.
“This pleases me, as I have no use for them.”…”You’ve pretty features, for a barbarian lord.”
“I wish I could return the compliment.”
This book was just ehh-okay. It didn’t quite ring my bells, but I wasn’t completely turned off. The Scot Beds his Wife probably best works as a non-committal, rainy day read, though I manged to read it on a crisp fall afternoon and am no worse for the wear. This is a new author and series for me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought the blurb was interesting though I typically don’t like my Historical “western women” fiction cross pollinating with my Highlander romance, I was game to see what to make of Gavin and Samantha.
Things almost ended before they began as the first scenes of the novel are of the brutalization of a whore and the assault and maiming of a gentlewoman, Gavin’s mother at the hands of Gavin’s truly evil father and ilk. Ok-I like dark. I skew dark. But I don’t like it thrust upon me by surprise, so I spent the early chapters displeased that the story seemed to begin with horror that was eradicated in the next chapter, and I was then once again left with the usual rakish nobleman and wily woman tale. It felt disjointed to go from the vicious assaults to a future where the men are lounging and Gavin is being Mr. Rake-and-wink, bedding and forgetting any woman’s whose skirt he can tumble. Nevertheless, I soon recovered from the shock and settled into an ambitious story of intrigue and closely guarded secrets. Before her ultimate murder at his father’s hands, Gavin’s mother begged him to distance himself from his father and half -brothers who were already thought lost and following in their depraved father’s foot steps. Gavin’s love for his mother and his abhorrence toward his father propels him to heed his mother’s word and break ties with his clan name. He carries much shame and anger, and guilt that it is a miracle he is able to find a match in any woman. Lucky for Gavin, Sam is made of sturdy stuff, and has her own secret life she is dead set upon escaping.
Samantha is from the western United States (she was very wild, wild, west) and nothing like the women Gavin’s amused himself with. She wears pants! And curses like a sailor (seriously, Sam’s mouth puts Gordon Ramsey to absolute shame). She’s gotten by in her young adult life, by hook and by (definite) crook and is in Scotland for the sole purpose of escaping her violent past and taking charge of land… land that Gavin would like to keep for himself. Land that she isn’t truly entitled to as she pretends…And so webs are weaves, lies are told and a race against time demands a plan be hatched and yes, all hell breaks loose.
There is a twist that kind of closed me off to really connecting with Samantha…I never like this particular sort of plot device because it just feels very “no thank you, not my cup-o” It is a big enough deal/surprise that I can’t imagine not offering the spoiler for anyone who is considering reading this and may want to be prepared for the unconventional.
Samantha is preggo- and it isn’t Gavin’s baby. The father is her decrepit (now dead- murdered at Samantha’s hand- ex- husband). See what I mean. Not my cup-o.
There was significant action and danger and intrigue, all things I like in novels, however, things were slow moving and the distraction of the “gah” trope and waiting to see the fall out from all the secrets between Gavin and Samantha was tiring. I knew there would be an HEA, but I was ready to get there already and be done with it. I don’t mind mystery, but relationships that start on a bed of big, significant, life altering lies, don’t excite me and it is a definite challenge rooting for the pair of them. After a while, I’d all but abandoned any allegiance to them and began sizing up and placing my own bets on which supporting character I’d like to see have a stab at lead in their own book. I couldn’t even really enjoy my favorite character in all Highland books- the rich, lush Highlands that are a hallmark of all great Highlander fiction! It didn’t quite come across, aye, the lands didn’t speak to me this time.
This is book five in the series, but I didn’t feel any lack or loss from being a series newbie so I’d heartily attest to its ability to stand alone. I’m not particularly motivated to read book 6, The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo, but if I get my hand on a spoiler that assures me no surprise loathsome trope will crop up, I’m game to add it to my TBR list. Aside from what didn’t work for me, the writing wasn’t bad by a long shot, the author is clever with word play and the dialogue and character timing was very well executed. This novel is full of great zingers and punch lines that improved its outlook. Some. Alas, the plot and is where things didn’t hold up for me (shakes fists at distracting and unappealing tropes!).