Here’s how this book came into my possession: I was relaying all my trials with romance to my husband last year, and the joker decided in his infinite wisdom that he wanted to buy me for Christmas the “best” romance he could find. To him, this meant two things: a hunky cover and a worthy blurb. Welp, there’s the cover up top, so we’ve clearly accomplished the first. As for the blurb, all he needed to see was that the male MC’s name was Royal, and that was enough to thoroughly tickle his fancy.
So here we are. (By the way, make sure to scroll to the bottom for a husband review.) I actually did enjoy this, though it was one of those on and off sort of reads that took me a couple weeks. The premise in vague, non-spoiler terms is that Ainsley, a Sassenach, needs Royal’s help to protect her from her vile betrothed. What I hadn’t realized at the outset is that while this is the first in the Clan Kendrick series, it’s actually not the first book of Kelly’s featuring these characters. Clan Kendrick is a spin-off series from another, so there were more than a few times when Kelly re-introduced a character or referenced a bit of backstory. This was a bit frustrating for me; as someone coming into a purported first in a series, the last thing I want is to feel like I have catching up to do—especially as the book is lengthy already, weighing in at more than four hundred pages.
The emphasis on protection and safety is interesting from a storytelling standpoint. If you think about it, these themes can be a little bit “anti-action”—and preventing something from happening isn’t necessarily as interesting as other kinds of plot structures. So it was a quieter sort of story overall, with more emphasis on character relationships and dialogue exchanges than actual plot points.
On a tangential note, the title of the book itself also never fails to make me laugh. It just doesn’t read at all “title-like” to me—more like description than anything else. Anyone with me here? 😛 Maybe I’m the only one…
In any case, I did enjoy the developing relationship between Ainsley and Royal, finding their chemistry quite good. The characters individually, too, feel concrete, with realistic personalities, flaws, hopes, and dreams. No caricatured characters here. Kelly’s writing in general is also pretty strong. The dialogue does get a bit samey after a while (how many times can characters say “don’t fash yourself”??), BUT it did teach me the gem of an expression “dicked in the knob.” That apparently means “crazy,” and I will be wasting no opportunity to employ it, let me tell ya.
Will I be reading the next in the series? Not sure about that, especially because I have some other romance TBR goals that are a bit more pressing. But I am definitely up for reading another book by Vanessa Kelly in the future, so am grateful to my husband for pointing me in her direction.