Zebra, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-4201-0015-0
Historical Romance, 2007
To Tempt a Scotsman has a really nice cover. If the sheet is lower, the guy will have nothing more to hide from the world, at least from the rear view. But don’t be led into thinking that Victoria Dahl’s debut historical romance is an erotic one though, because it is a rather typical mainstream historical romance when it comes to the heat level.
Nineteen-year old Alexandra Huntington, our heroine, was ruined a year or so ago when a duel was fought over her honor and one of the participants died in the duel. When the story opens, Alexandra is managing her brother’s estate in Yorkshire while trying to put the past behind her. However, the past will come back to haunt her when Collin Blackburn, our hero, shows up at her doorstep. He is the brother of the man who died in the duel and he wants to nail down the other man. It seems that Alexandra is the only person who can provide him with any lead on the man’s whereabouts so he wants answers from Alexandra, answers that she may not readily give. However, because the Ton is a small world, these two will realize that they are going to see a whole lot of each other as they both happen to have some unexpected mutual acquaintances.
On paper, the characters are fine. They aren’t too original in the sense that there is much about these characters that conform to standard tropes to the point that the reader can guess the extent of Alexandra’s ruination long before the author reveals just how much – or little, in this case – that Alexandra is actually ruined. However, their relationship is one that I find quite lifeless and dull. This is because the author jumps the gun by having the characters move past second base very quickly in the story, therefore reducing sexual tension to a minimum. The author instead relies on some tedious mini-episodes of misunderstanding here and there whenever needed to spice up things. It is quite unfortunate that the author’s name is Victoria Dahl because I can easily imagine some unflattering play on her last name to highlight the dreary execution of this story. Not that I’ll do that, of course, because I can afford to be nice when dullness is the only crime of this story.
At any rate, I find that To Tempt a Scotsman is quite a dull story to read. I like how the author attempted to have her characters talk and behave sensibly, even if the end result isn’t always sensible, so perhaps the dullness of this story is just a debut author bump in the road. I suppose I will only have to wait for the next book to be sure.