Portia Mclean is long past the years of debutante balls and searching for marriage. Her time for that has passed and since her father left their small family with absolutely nothing to live on when he died, they have moved to Scotland, where life is a bit cheaper and maybe they can find someone who is willing to marry her beautiful, but penniless, sister. Portia works hard to keep the financially stable, which is a difficult feat when her mother refuses to accept they are too poor to waste money on fancy dresses when the landlord is demanding rent or they’ll be thrown out. Harry Chattan is on a mission. He must find a way to break the Chattan curse and save his brother, who is fading fast. Whenever a Chattan male falls in love, he dies. Not instantly, but usually within 6 months, he is buried and he cannot tolerate the idea of burying his brother. He thinks he has finally found Fenella in Scotland, but later learns it was simply a girl masquerading as her to get money. But he becomes so captivated by this imposter that he can’t leave and he’s convinced that this girl really can help.
It’s as difficult for me to write this review as it was for the first book in this series. Generally, when I read a HR from an author I’ve enjoyed, I love them. There is rarely a case where I just don’t love it and this is the second book in a row that it has happened with. I had so many issues with this. The characters were fine for the first half of the novel and then it’s like when Portia and Harry finally got together, everything went to hell. Portia went from being headstrong to blindly following Harry. Harry went from being a one night stand guy to having multiple clandestine meetings with the same woman. Even Portia’s mother changes, going from a stubborn woman with interests only for herself to appearing to truly care about her children’s happiness.
The plot was entirely predictable. You could see where it was going from page one, which isn’t normally a complaint for HR because with all of them, you know the hero and the heroine will end up together at the end, that’s always a given, but this one was even more so. Another issue I had was with the first time Harry and Portia have sex. It read less like consensual fornicating and more like rape. They just start making out and then suddenly they are fucking. He gives Portia no real warning and there is barely any foreplay. I mean, I get that Harry felt a sense of need and urgency, but he had to know that Portia was innocent and that she wouldn’t realize the implications of what she was doing or what his intentions were until after the fact. It just felt wrong.
Really, this novel isn’t all that bad, which is why it gets three stars, but I just didn’t love it. I’m going to finish this series, but I don’t have overly high hopes for the final book. Thus far, I am highly disappointed in this series and I cannot believe that cliffhangers are invading this section of fiction. I thought they were better than that…..maybe I was wrong.
****Thank you to Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****