Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-246366-1
Historical Romance, 2019
Lady Clara Autenberry was engaged to the Earl of Rolland, a man she chose on her own volition, only to learn that he loves to forcefully penetrate anything female in his household. She couldn’t marry him, of course. Despite the fact that her family is a caring one who always takes her side, she has no choice but to pretend that she is pregnant with another man’s baby. That way, Rolland publicly rejects her, and she is now no longer going to marry him. This also means that she is sent to her brother’s place in Scotland, and she’s only now going oh lord, she has ruined not only herself but her unmarried siblings’ future. But worst of all, she can’t go back to London, so oh, the tragedy.
She couldn’t just tell her parents about Rolland’s rapist penis and have them call off the engagement the usual way? Her parents adore her, they would have surely pat her in the head and say, “There, there, Clara, you can continue to be a leech on the family, doing useless things that nobody cares about, and you will be saved from his rapist ways. Let him go rape the other women out there so long as your precious vagina remains pure!”
On her first evening in haggis country, she comes across our hero, Hunt MacLarin, the laird of his people, and his entourage brawling with members of their rival clan over a cow. He acts like a drunken and crude boor, but she is instantly smitten because… I don’t know, maybe she has a type when it comes to men. At least he’s not a rapist, I suppose? She ends up spinning like a dumb cow with her gowns and what not getting in the way between the brawling men, shrieks in maidenly outrage when he rescues her, and her brother ends up getting Hunt to agree to marry her.
Despite being ruined and the author claiming that Clara is some kind of humble not-pretty quiet miss, our heroine behaves more like a bratty pageant queen denied her crown. What? The man she clearly lusts after wants to marry her for her money? He wants to marry her because of her family connections? How dare he! Wait, he wants to marry her because he likes her? That cannot be, as she is plain and ugly and dowdy and unlikable and… this is where, of course, she practically demands that the people around her come together to assure her that she is indeed awesome enough to be loved for herself. Seriously, this wretched thing behaves more and more like a high-maintenance brain-damaged drama llama the more the story progresses to an ending that makes me feel like a nuclear meltdown has just taken place in my brain.
Anyway, Clara and her saucy maid end up among the homely, earthy MacLarins who can’t wait for her to be forcefully penetrated by Hunt. Only, Hunt is under a family curse and ooh, that means he cannot stick that thing inside her… maybe once, so that he can beat his chest in manly angst… and when he discovers that she is not carrying another man’s brat in her womb, he is dismayed.
Okay, here is the entire curse, spelled out on the first page by the author:
May all the future lairds of Clan MacLarin live out their days knowing that they are marked for love, but not to live. Until a laird of the Clan MacLarin line lives to see his firstborn draw breath, the curse shall never be broken.
What does that mean? The laird will die? Newsflash: everyone dies eventually, so what kind of stupid curse is this? It seems like the only way to break the curse – and presumably become immortal thereafter – is to live long enough to see the firstborn come into this world, am I right?
However, Hunt presumes that the curse means that he must never fall in love, hence him marrying a woman he doesn’t and can’t love. Meanwhile, he continues to have sex with a mistress. Huh, what? Even if we interpret the curse to mean that he will die should he get a woman pregnant, that means he shouldn’t be having sex at all if he is that worried. How on earth did he come to this conclusion that he can have sex, only with women he doesn’t love? If that’s the case, what’s the big deal? Just live next to a brothel, problem solved. His entire motivation makes no sense.
Then again, she makes no sense as well. So, nothing makes sense here. The language used in this story is English, yes, but the words are stringed together in a manner that results in gibberish behavior and nonsensical motivations. This Scot of Mine is this turd of mine… no, wait, at least I can love my turd more than I can ever could this marathon of imbecilic antics. Whatever – flush with extreme prejudice.