Top critical review
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Could have been so much better
on 22 February 2017
I really wanted to like this book. I fancied reading a romance set in Scotland, and when I saw that this one is set in the early 1100s my interest was piqued even more. After all, this was a fascinating time when the split between highland and lowland culture was starting to widen towards what would become almost separate nations within a nation. Unfortunately the book didn't really deliver, neither as a romance or as a historical novel.
The main character, Page, didn't really grab me, coming across as rather one-dimensional. She seems almost totally defined by her difficult relationship with her father and her growing attraction to clan chief Iain, with very little to hint at a more rounded personality underneath that and her life before her kidnapping isn't described in enough detail to make me really connect with her.
I also felt the story dragged in the middle, almost enough to lose my interest, though I did stay with it. It really picks up towards the end, thankfully, but the final resolution seemed too easy, with the other characters accepting the outcome too readily to be really satisfying. My main gripe about the storytelling, though, is the too-frequent jumping between the two main characters, almost enough to give the reader tennis-spectator neck, and quite irritating.
This is a romance, true, but as a historical romance between noble-born characters I expected more meat to the political power aspects than is actually present in this particular story. The historical details aren't too bad, but they lack depth and I wasn't convinced by the way their speech is rendered, which came across like 18th century Outlander highlander-speak with a smattering of archaic words to give a medieval flavour. No mention is made of Norman influence when Page's father would surely be a member of the Norman nobility, rather than identifying with the English.
All in all, I enjoyed this story enough to see it through to the end, but it never really met the expectations I had from the premise, and even the romance was rather formulaic.