Wild Wicked Scot (The Highland Grooms #1)
HQN Books / December 27, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Margot Armstrong’s daily life consists of spending time with her best friend, Lynetta, and enjoying the attentions of countless young gentlemen seeking to make an impression upon her, as befits a seventeen-year-old heiress in 1706. Margot convinces her father to host a ball in honor of the less-financially-endowed Lynetta, and that night her life changes forever. During the festivities, Margot’s father, an earl, introduces her to Arran Mackenzie, a Scottish laird, and informs her she will marry the man, though she manages to prolong the event until after she turns eighteen.
Margot’s shock at her situation intensifies once she arrives at Balhaire, her new home in the Scottish Highlands. Though her new husband, Arran, treats her with respect and care in their personal interactions, Margot feels like a fish out of water in her new environment, and after a few months decides to leave and go back to England. Three years later, Margot’s father insists she must return to her husband, with a specific purpose in mind. Though she does not relish either her task or returning, Margot does so, soon finding herself in the middle of political machinations.
Julia London does a fine job of portraying two very different people who have one thing in common: being at the mercy of their time and place. Arran, though a laird/chieftain in his own right, sees the advantage in aligning his clan with a well-established English earl, as he will then have opportunities to increase the fortunes of his people, ensuring their relative comfort in comparison to what some other Highlands folks endure. Despite his tender feelings for his new bride, Arran remains somewhat oblivious to the root of her discomfort, and carries on his daily activities as he always has.
Margot, though having been pampered her whole life, learns her status as a pawn in the eyes of her father once she becomes of marriageable age. Margot’s youth and inexperience work against her when she tries to cope in unfamiliar surroundings, and what she perceives as a lack of care on her new husband’s part results in her decision to leave.
Margot didn’t hate Arran, had never hated Arran—but she had hated her situation with such intensity that it had eaten away at her and perhaps had clouded her judgment at time. The transition to Scotland had been difficult, to be sure. Her rage had simmered, then turned wild over the circumstances of her marriage, forced by a father who’d demanded her loyalty at the tender age of seventeen, who had allowed her to be carted off without any real knowledge of the world at all, much less the ruggedness of the Highlands—or marriage, for that matter—and there had left her to fend for herself while her husband carried on with his clan.
Wild Wicked Scot proves a satisfying read on multiple levels. Readers who enjoy a bit of political intrigue in their historical romance reading will find much to appreciate here. This reviewer looks forward to the second book in the series, The Sinful Scottish Laird, due in March 2017.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London, available December 27, 2016:
H&H Editor Picks:
A reviewer and editor at Bitten by Books since 2008, Carol also serves as the Director of the Urban Fantasy track at Dragon Con, and in 2013 co-authored The Jane Yellowrock World Companion with Faith Hunter. When not reading, reviewing, or working at conventions, Carol spends as much time as possible with her three amazing grandsons.