Note: I received this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review.
So I actually hate reading things out of order. When I find a series, I try to never start in the middle, and I really don't do it when it's my first book by an author. So this novella is set after the third book in aseries called Explosive Highlanders, and it really convinced me that I was right to avoid novellas in the middle of series by authors I've never read before.
That's not to say I didn't like it, but I just kind of think it suffers from me not knowing anything about the world that Lisa Torquay has created if that makes sense. For example, I'm pretty sure Aileen and Taran, Sam's father and stepmother, are in Book 1 or 2 -- but now I don't want to read their story because Taran's a jackass. This novella does not stand on its own.
Another drawback is the pacing. It's a short novella--about 90 pages--and most of the book is building up the seduction between Sam and Harriet. That part is mostly fine. There are some tropes and purple prose, but whatever. And then the book gallops over weeks and months, and there's a trip to Scotland that makes little narrative sense except we want to to see Aileen and Taran--the pacing is all over the place.
Sam and Harriet don't really stand alone as interesting characters either, though I imagine I'd feel differently having read the first two books. If you're looking for a short story with a lot of sex, then this is probably a good book for you. If you're looking for a little bit more development in your romance and a more traditional narrative, I wouldn't recommend it.
The trip to Scotland is crazy pants. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Harriet went or why Sam invited her to stay at his parents' house. He's twenty-five and a virgin, but he's written like he's never been in the real world. There's this weird uncomfortable dinner because Taran and Aileen know Sam has brought a lover to their home and Taran and Sam have already quarreled over it, and I'm just--it's a ridiculous conflict because I don't buy for one minute that Harriet would ever go to Scotland in the first place.
I also never understand why heroes who have had bad arranged marriages, find love in a second marriage, then attempt to inflict an arranged marriage on their children. Like...you know how this ends, my dude. This isn't the first time I've seen this trope--I remember wanting to strangle one of Suzanne Enoch's leads in her last Scottish series for the exact same nonsensical behavior. You get to choose happiness, but you're going to make your son repeat your mistakes?
This book is fine--I definitely don't recommend reading it if you've never read anything else in the series or by this author, because it's not a good introduction to the series. It's too weak to stand on its own. I'm sure it reads better in context, and I'm kind of tempted to put the other two books on my TBR just to see if that's true. If it is, I'll come back and update this review.
The Lass Initiated the Laird - Erotic Novella (Explosive Highlander 3.5)
Note: I received this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review. Overall So I actually hate reading things out of order. When I find a series, I try to never start in the middle, ...