I liked this book when I first read it, and I liked it again on what I think it is probably my third time through. I did, however, get slightly annoyed at the trajectory of the romance in a way I hadn't before. I'm not as big a fan as I used to be of the idea of that a damaged man just needs the love of a good woman to heal him, and that's a lot of what this book seemed. I'm sure Elliott loved Juliana, but there were times it bordered on uncomfortable obsession for me, particularly when he makes it clear that thoughts of her helped him retain some sanity while he was in captivity. That's way too much pressure on Juliana.
I'm glad Jennifer Ashley had a character address the idea that it wasn't Juliana's job to fix him, but it came a little too late for me. Juliana and Elliott just seem so different to me -- she clearly looks forward to the role she's been prepared for -- society and spending the season in Edinburgh -- while Elliott always seems to be going along with it for her sake. It's lovely at first, but I can't help the niggling feeling that it's a fight they're waiting to have five years down the line.
I also kind of felt, in a way I don't normally, that this book was more based on lust than emotion. I hadn't felt that way in the Mackenzie part of the series, even though sexual attraction is a major proponent of all of her stories. Elliott was constantly seducing Juliana all over the book--even when she would try to talk to him.
I don't know. I liked this book, I liked the characters. I think it had an interesting plot and Elliott's psychological issues were well done, but this and a few other quibbles I'll get into under spoilers kept me from loving it.
Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but I can't help but cringe when the ultimate villain is revealed not to be Archibald Stacy, a rival from India, but Indian men avenging the honor of their sister. It just...makes me uncomfortable. These men are never actually on screen; their sister Jaya is also not given any depth. She dies before the book begins, but her depiction is exoticism and she's not given any kind of personality. I'm just more aware than I used to be of the way novels set in this period of British imperialism tend to use the Indian society as a tool.
That's the major reason I can't quite boost this score up. The romance isn't great, but the cultural issue takes me out of the moment and keeps me from really enjoying the novel.
The Seduction Of Elliot McBride (MacKenzies & McBrides, #5)
Overall I liked this book when I first read it, and I liked it again on what I think it is probably my third time through. I did, however, get slightly annoyed at the trajectory of the romance ...