Heather suggested we BR this book because she was the person who pointed me towards a later book in this series, THE DUKE'S FORBIDDEN WARD, which I adored. The heroine of this book, Penelope, was the original fiancee of the aforementioned duke of the third book, but she "jilted" him (although we find out in this book that this was not quite the case). Word of warning: I still recommend reading book three first because Hugh, the hero, does not come across as very likable at all in this book and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to continue the series if I had started with this one.
Penny, the heroine, has a jerk father who has gotten himself into debt. She is engaged to be married to Lachlan, who used to work for her father but was never paid for his efforts. Now, her marriage to him will be part of his weird revenge plan against the English before he returns to Scotland and collects the estate and the lands that are part of his due.
At first I really liked this book, but then I started to get really frustrated by it. Penny is too precious for my liking and I didn't like her very much by the end of the book, especially since she does one of my least favorite romance tropes of all time: forcing the hero, who does not want a baby, to have a baby. I'm sorry, but I had my fill of that in Bridgerton and seeing it happen makes me see red. Her reasons for wanting children are purely selfish, too; the idea of a baby makes her feel as if she is loved by her dead mother.
They also have this bird connecting them: apparently the hero helped her save a wounded bird when she was a child. The bird is brought up about 31 times (I did a search in my Kindle for "bird"). So I suppose you could turn that into a drinking game if you're feeling like succumbing to alcohol poisoning on your evening in. The heroine also throws a fit over not being able to eat toast in Scotland, which, of course, ends up being the set-up for an emotional moment later when the hero makes her toast in bed.
The book wasn't all bad. I liked Isla, the servant who Penny ends up befriending, and it was interesting to see how cold Hugh looked to anyone who wasn't already heads-over-heels in love with him. The sex scenes were also spicy here, as they were in FORBIDDEN WARD, although this book lacked the kinky factor that made that book so much fun. Lachlan was also a decent hero. I just really disliked Penny by the end of the book. Her quirkiness needed to be dialed down by a factor of ten and I thought the author made her just a little too childish to be fun to read about as a romance heroine.
So overall, this was a miss for me. Too bad. I'll still read more from this author, though.
2 out of 5 stars