[Book Review] Kill or be Kilt

Kill or be Kilt / Victoria Roberts (Powell's Books)

It’s been three years since Lady Elizabeth Walsingham ended her childish crush on Laird Ian Munro, the fierce Highlander who scared everyone but her. She’s a grown woman now, heading to London to find a proper English gentleman. But when the wild Highland laird walks through the door, she’s that breathless youth all over again.

Ian tries hard to avoid the young lass who’s confounded him for years. But now that they’re attending court, he must keep watch on her night and day. Danger is at every turn and advisors to the Crown are being murdered. Ian soon realizes the girl he’s been protecting is a beautiful lady who needs his help, almost as much as he needs her.

Confession time, I was compelled to pick up this to read purely based on the title. A+ for titling.

What can I say about this book?  If you like "classic" Highlands romance, you'll probably like Kill or be Kilt, it definitely checks off all the major criteria.  Large, brawny, man in a kilt?  Check.  Spies for the crown?  Check.  Passionate and sexually adventurous, yet still naive virgin?  Check.  Dastardly rake with ill intentions and and a help-himself attitude?  Check.  Overblown misunderstandings?  Check.

Honestly, for me it's a miss.

Among other things, I couldn't stand the leading lady.  I get people do stupid things, but seriously Elizabeth needs some sense slapped into her.  Even without Ian's point of view it's pretty damn clear that he's trying, but that he also is pretty unsure of how to proceed, and all she can do is act like a little snit.  Add in things like when Ian catches her in the arms of another man being kissed, she sees that he's extremely hurt and upset, then angrily demands to know why he left when she sees him next.  Um... cause he's recently declared his love for you, has been trying to make amends for all of the perceived slights you feel regardless of if an apology is warranted, conceded to your demands for total honesty, and you know about the fact that he finds himself extremely unattractive and feels threatened by the very hansom suitor he caught you with?  Yes, he should have given her the benefit of the doubt, but he also has every right to feel hurt and need to remove himself from the situation.

The intimacy is pretty boilerplate.  All surging lust and searing kisses, but nothing particularly inventive or sizzling.  Very classic romance novel.

As with most historical romances, the historical setting is mostly window dressing.  There's no acknowledgement of formal Scottish wear, and a very... modern take on who's to blame for sexual assault where it suits the love story (but not anywhere else in the entire English court).

I'm admittedly picky when it comes to romance novels, this didn't fit what I tend to look for.  For people who read broadly and voraciously within the genre I think this will be a better fit.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

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