Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Wild Wicked Scot

Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms - Book 1) by Julia London

Publication Date: 12/27/2016
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: HQN Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 384

(Received for an honest review from Harlequin HQN)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Julia London on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram

Excerpt from Wild Wicked Scot, courtesy of the author's website


Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands 
Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it. 

Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.


Julia London is one of those author's that makes a reader stand up and take notice. Her storytelling skills are impeccable and her characters are often surprising, as well as, passionate. Her latest series, The Highland Grooms, begins with a story of political intrigue and a marriage of convenience. Wild Wicked Scot, is quite unpredictable for the genre. This is a hard fought HEA and readers will find themselves absorbed and unable to figure out just how things will shake out. 

What I liked:

I read of a lot of Scottish romances. It's a given coming from a Scottish background that any book I read from the subgenre has to meet a few criterion for me to like it. Historical romances have to have some history. It's in the name... lol. Wild Wicked Scot is set in a particularly tumultuous time in Scottish history, at the beginnings of the Jacobite Rebellion. The tension is high between the English crown and the Scottish clans. London's portrayal of a romance set smack dab in the middle of it was both satisfying and highly emotional, but it's the political climate and the underlying sense of urgency that propels this book from good to great. London knows how to use the history to enhance the romance. It's an acquired skill. 

Can't have a great romance without a sexy hero. It's part of the outline. Arran Mackenzie, fits that description to a tee. He's a laird, commanding and competent. He's a warrior, passionate and protective and he's wearing a kilt. That never hurts. I liked Arran a lot. Margot is his wife, but she isn't his partner in the beginning. It was a marriage of convenience. Her father wanted something and Arran wanted something, but Margot wasn't necessarily it. When she returns after three years he is clearly skeptical, but he doesn't let that stop him from being attracted to her. He is very open with his feelings for her and I liked that he didn't try to hide it even though he doesn't trust her. He is very much a man, but he is also a leader and that comes with responsibilities to his people. He shows caution and compassion with Margot and that was very attractive.

The plot centers around Margot's return to the highland's as a spy for her father. She is supposed to find out if Arran is in fact a supporter of the Jacobite Rebellion. In order to do that she not only has to win over a husband she deserted but also a clan who desperately needs something or someone to believe in. I loved the fact that London's plot is so unconventional. Most marriage's of convenience in historical romances follow a prescribed pattern. Most often the hero and the heroine fall in love and live happily ever after. Not so, in this one. It starts out bad and gets worse. The reader will have a hard time trying to figure out how in the world this one will work out. They know what kind of romance it is but then again maybe it's not. Are they going to stay together... yes, of course they are. But maybe they're not. Oh dear! London really keeps you on your toes with this one... loved that part. 

London brings together two people from two totally different backgrounds. They have no basis to understand each other. Nothing but attraction to bond them. They have different expectations in life. Different ideas of romance and love. I liked the idea of the spoiled English bride and the stoic Scottish laird. It really worked. Margot was certainly a hand full. Arran has his work cut out of him. When they both finally get over their own expectations and start to see each other for the unique and interesting people they have become, it's on (like Donkey Kong!)

What I didn't like:

There were a lot of things I liked about this book, but there was one thing I didn't like. And it's a big one. I didn't like Margot. I didn't like the heroine. How can I possibly say this a great book, without liking the heroine? Even though, I found her a bit spoiled and pretentious in the beginning she did grow on me. I didn't find myself falling in love with her character by any means, but the idea behind her was compelling. She was the bad girl who won the day in a sense. She had her faults and don't we all, but it just goes to show you that there's someone out there for everyone.

Bottom Line:

This was a deeply romantic book. The characters were well drawn and interesting. It felt very unpredictable and hard to pin down and that's a good thing. I like books that don't follow the norms. I like saucy, savvy characters and even though I didn't like Margot she was both of those things. Arran was a very good hero, if a bit clueless about how to make his wife happy. Pick this one up you'll be glad you did. It's a really good romance balanced with political intrigue and a lot of sexy highlanders! 

Wild Wicked Scot is available now from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular  Cabot Sisters historical series, including The Trouble with HonorThe Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch and The Perfect Homecoming.
Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.

She lives in Austin, Texas.

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