Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay
|Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: The Scottish Highlands in 1754 sees a new laird taking over the family home. Fresh from Sweden, Brice finds his hands full trying to turn around the fortunes of the failing estate plus he finds romance in unexpected quarters.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 356||Date: November 2011|
|Publisher: Choc Lit|
|External links: Author's website|
Shortlisted for Historical Romantic Novel of the year, 2012
The publisher, Choc Lit Limited, gives a fair idea of what kind of read this book is. Romance with a capital R. Courtenay decides to go back in time to a Scotland rather weary of battles but strong in image especially in terms of the countryside. Is the book's purple hue suggestive of the purple heather to be found all over this area of Scotland, I wonder. It all conjures up a deeply romantic setting for many, myself included. Add in the odd fairy-tale castle or two and it's even better.
The surly, rude and brusque manager of the Rosyth estate, Mr Seton, is a man with a plan. He likes to keep a watchful eye and a tight rein on everything to do with the house and land. He doesn't encourage visitors onto his patch either, so when a personable and pleasant young man stops by 'innocently' he's given a very basic level of hospitality indeed. Brice, the new laird, makes his initial visit to his new home under a false name in order to try and discover why everything is in such a poor state of repair. Something's afoot. The estate should be in profit, it should be thriving.
Marsaili is the young but capable housekeeper. She takes her orders from Mr Seton. So when Brice wants to lay his head down for a night or two, it's basically bread and water and a lumpy mattress. Mr Seton hopes this young whipper-snapper will soon be on his way.
But there's an instant attraction between Marsaili and Brice which is the central theme of the book. Brice is impossibly handsome and Marsaili is impossibly beautiful and this should keep romance fans very happy. There's also plenty of teeth-crunching, foot stomping, flashing of eyes etc. My eyes glaze over at these parts but I'm not a big fan of romantic fiction. Some of the dialogue is sugary and cliched. But then again this book is all about escapism so the book does what it says on the tin.
Not content with giving Brice and Marsaili a very rocky road to romance, Courtenay creates a threesome. The gruff Mr Seton has designs on Marsaili even although she's young enough to be his daughter. She hates him but he's her boss so she's in a tricky situation. We also find out a little bit about Marsaili's childhood and background and how she ended up working at the estate. All is not what it seems.
If anyone came across as a credible character for me, it was the nasty Mr Seton. The others were simply too nice and therefore forgettable, as far as I was concerned. Nice doesn't really cut the mustard for me.
The crux of the story is the ongoing relationship between Brice and Marsaili. It's not too difficult to guess the outcome but before that they both have to negotiate Courtenay's various hoops. She tells her story well in light and uncomplicated but also entertaining prose. If you enjoy light romantic fiction with a nice line in Scottish Highland history, then this book should probably tick quite a few boxes.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Turning the Tide by Christine Stovell.
You can read more book reviews or buy Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay at Amazon.com.
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