In Suzanne Enoch’s latest book, we find some readers’ catnip. A hotheaded highlander hell-bent on revenge and the woman who spurned him and broke his heart? Obviously, they are destined for a happy ending! Onward!
Childhood friends Rebecca Sanderson and Callum MacCreath often got into mischief. Sure, as they got older, Callum’s mischief-seeking led him to taverns (and tavern wenches), but they were still close. So it was a complete surprise when Becca told him she was marrying his boring older brother, the Earl of Geiry. The ensuing argument, including lots of accusations of drunken excesses, was overheard not just by his brother but by her father and their clan chief and ended with Callum warning his clan chief that if anything happened to his brother, he would come back and kill him. Then Callum disappeared into the night with nothing but the clothes on his back.
Years later, Callum is a successful distiller in the wilds of Kentucky (my homeland, don’t you know). Callum has had no contact with his brother since that last eventful night, even though he has received the occasional letter over the last few years – when letters arrive, he burns them. Even when he starts receiving letters from a solicitor, he orders those burned, as well…until one of his men notices a partial headline on a newspaper used as packing material – about the death of the Earl of Geiry. After Callum reads the solicitor’s letter, he heads for Scotland and his revenge.
Callum arrives and sets out to discover who, exactly, was involved in the events that ended in his brother’s death. All he wants is his revenge and to return to Kentucky…until he meets his six year-old niece. He knows she is completely innocent of all wrongdoing and must be protected at all costs – he owes his brother that much.
The rest of the book is Callum finding motives and unraveling the conspiracy, eventually with the help of Rebecca, after he decides she was not involved. And Rebecca helps with the investigation – a part of that mischievous girl still lives in her, after all. But can she convince Callum that he should be willing to do more than die for his revenge – he should live on afterwards?
Ah, Faithful Reader, I do enjoy Ms. Enoch’s books generally. There are a few on my keeper shelf, even. And I enjoyed this story and the characters. However, let me take this opportunity to express a large pet peeve (not just with this book) – as I said, this book is set mostly in Scotland, so it is populated with Scottish folk, obviously. And much of this book has the Scottish accent written in – which I hatesssssssss. *ahem* Now, I understand that authors want to give their books some local flavor. But an occasional “aye” or “nay” or “lass” or whatever is enough for me. And you know it’s bad when my brain is converting the written dialect back to regular words…which it did, when I was reading this book. Am I alone in my hate??? Enquiring minds want to know!
Anyhoo, does this book stand alone? I gotta say yes, since I didn’t read either of the connected books and was fine. As it turns out, this series is mostly connected by the villain which, I say, is a pretty good way to connect things.
The dawning of desire
1806, Scotland. Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, Callum is only too happy to leave Scotland forever.
…is delicious and dangerous
1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction. But will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?
Read an excerpt.
Other books in the series: