Katherine "Kat" Macdonald is not your typical Regency heroine. She's a little taller than is fashionable, has a "lush" figure, she was born illegitimate and to top it all off she has a slightly checkered past. Because she's been ruined, her half-brother's society friends seem to think she's fair game to be hit on (and pawed at), but like the self-possessed, confident woman she is, Kat has no problem fending off the unwanted advances. And they are very unwanted, because when Kat was ruined she had her heartbroken by an unscrupulous rogue.
Devon St. John has ventured into Scotland to visit a friend--and also to outrun an enchanted family ring that "dooms" the holder to find their spouse. He didn't outrun the ring, his recently married brother planted it on his person before he ran away. When he discovers it, he decides the best way to avoid the "curse" of the ring is to distract himself with a decidedly ineligible woman--and his friend Malcolm's sister, Kat, seems to fit the bill perfectly.
"And the Bride Wore Plaid" is an upbeat style Regency historical, although it's a little less funny than it could have been and comes off mostly as light-hearted. I like that Devon is instantly attracted to Kat for her slightly larger-than-life looks, and their chemistry is great. The story drags a bit until Kat gets a little competition for Devon in the form of her brother's extremely beautiful sister-in-law. There's also a nice subplot involving some marital strife between Malcolm and his wife. Kat is a fairly likeable character. Devon is likeable too, although he is a little elusive; I'm never sure that I really have a bead on him and his motivations.
I only have two major problems with this book.
First, there's an irksome attempt at a fairy tale angle (which is thankfully not terribly overused) with Kat having a "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" thing going on. All of her giant "dwarves" are unnecessary and pointless; there are plenty of secondary characters without them.
My other problem is with Kat's "past". I can't say "And the Bride Wore Plaid" is the first book that I've been bothered by something like this, but it's the first I've reviewed where it came up so I'm going to go into it. I will say that the fact that Kat is not a virgin is integral to the plot; it's pretty safe to say that Devon wouldn't have been interested in her if she hadn't had a little experience. Here's what bugs me: why do women who've had extra-marital sexual experiences always have to regret them in historical romances? I'm at the point that I'd rather an author not write about experienced women if they're always going to have either had a bad sexual experience, or a good one that they enjoyed at the time but then greatly regretted. If a heroine is going to defy the dictates of her society and willingly have sex before she's married, can't she do it for a good enough reason that it wasn't a mistake? I'd like to think that most real women who had have affairs before marriage in those days did so because they truly wanted to and felt it was worth it. Obviously there would be some who regretted it, but I tend to think there would be a higher percentage of women who didn't. Okay, I'm done with that little rant.
In the end, this book is readable, but also nothing terribly exciting, so it gets three stars. I've read the rest of the books in this series about the St. John ring, but can't really say there's one I'd recommend more than "And the Bride Wore Plaid". If you liked any of the others in the series, or if you're already a Karen Hawkins fan, you'll probably like this book.
Sidenote: If you're a big Julia Quinn fan and you haven't read any Karen Hawkins yet, you should do so immediately. I don't know anyone who loves one of those authors without loving the other. Just so you know.