Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Highland Heat by Jennifer Haymore

With blood still drying on the front lines at Waterloo, Lady Grace Carrington helps an injured soldier to a British medical tent. Though she believes she's pulled him to safety, in fact she has put them both in grave danger: Because when his brilliant blue eyes meet hers, the passionate Scottish sergeant kisses her in a way that leaves her breathless and trembling. As the obedient daughter of an earl, Grace shouldn't be tempted by someone so far below her station. But as a red-blooded woman, she longs for so much more.
 As far as Duncan Mackenzie is concerned, getting stabbed in the arm was the best thing that ever happened to him. When he wakes on the battlefield, the sight of Grace's lovely face sets his soul aflame. As an enlisted man and a farmer's son, however, pursuing his guardian angel means facing the wrath of London society, not to mention his own superiors in the British Army. Aye, but he'd risk all that and more just to keep her in his arms.
Series: Highland Knights #2 | Publisher:  Loveswept | Release Date: November 24, 2015 | Genre: Historical Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3,5

Sparks fly when a dutiful daughter of an English earl falls for a Scottish commoner who happens to be the son of a sheep farmer.
When Grace traveled to Waterloo with her sister Lady Campbell, she never intended to be aiding the injured soldiers on the battlefield or developing an attachment to a Scottish soldier she saved.  Having been raised as an earl’s dutiful daughter, she knows there is no future for her and Duncan yet she can’t seem to stay away.
Duncan Mackenzie is enthralled with the beautiful woman who rescued him from the battlefield and stood by his side while he was being stitched up but, as much as he longs for her, he knows he will never be up to Lady Grace’s standards. Although he can’t let her go and he’s willing to risk everything for a chance with Grace.
I liked the book, I liked the development between Grace and Duncan, I liked the role reversal yet it was lacking a bit.
Grace and Duncan were so good together and it was such a refreshing treat to see the roles reversed. Normally when you have a character that’s a commoner, it’s generally the heroine but this time it was the hero and I thought that made for an interesting change.
I really liked Duncan and he has a good outlook on things. Yet it kind of bothered me that, while it nearly killed him to do so, he was willing to do the proper thing and walk away from Grace without putting up a fight. I know that he felt like he was doing the right thing according to society and the pledge he made with the Highland Knights, but it just irked me. Although, thankfully, he did come to his senses and decided to go back for Grace.
Grace was also easy to like yet there were times when I just wanted her to tell her father to shove it up his bahookie and live her life for herself. She was madly in love with Duncan yet, like Duncan, she let him go without putting up a fight, which drove me mad.
While I wanted to shake both of them at times, they had this amazing connection and chemistry from the start. When she first discovers Duncan on the battlefield and aids him, they were meeting as equals and that allowed them to develop a connection outside of what society deemed proper. It was only when they allowed her station to come into play that things became tricky.
The majority of the book follows the historical romance formula and while it was still a very good, very engaging read, it was a tad bit predictable, although there is an element of suspense thrown in towards the end that added a bit of excitement.
I would have liked to have seen a bit more solid conflict thrown in. The majority of the conflict derives from the difference in their social classes and the fear of her father not accepting Duncan and Grace being ruined in the eyes of society. The suspense aspect brought in another round of conflict yet it still felt a little lacking.
Another thing that kind of annoyed me was that while a few of Grace’s scenes felt a bit repetitions, things that I would have liked to have seen unfold with Duncan were glossed over and only received a few sentences letting the reader know what had transpired. When I reached the last 30% of the book, it almost felt as though the word count was starting to add up yet the author still needed to fill in the plot holes so she just summarized what had occurred.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I really liked that it was a bit different in that the hero was the commoner. I loved that Duncan was from the Gordon Highlanders regiment as this is often overlooked in most romances as most authors choose to write about English soldiers returning from Waterloo. I also liked that Haymore captured Duncan’s Highlander spirit. Yet the book was predictable, even with the spy and suspense elements that were thrown in. And at the end, the pacing started feeling a bit off as though the plot had been abridged.
If you do pick this one up, and I hope that you do, read it for the interaction between Duncan and Grace and the pure enjoyment of Duncan’s Highlander self.
Series Alert: So, this is the second book in the Highland Knights series. While this book works as a standalone, A Highlander’s Heart (book 1) occurs at the same time as this book so while you get to see intriguing glimpses of Lady and Major Campbell’s troubled relationship, reading book 1 would probably fill in what happened with them off the page.

Highland Knights
1-A Highlander’s Heart
2-Highland Heat

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