Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ARC Review: Kill or Be Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Series:  Highland Spies #3
Pub. Date:  May 3, 2016
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages:  352
Format:  eARC
Source:  NetGalley

Three years after the ending of Kilts and Daggers, the Highland Spies series continues with the third troublesome Walsingham sister, Elizabeth. If you have read the earlier books, you will know that the series has been following the Walsingham/Mildmay family, many of whom were engaged as spies for the Crown. Luckily for the Scottish men in their lives, the espionage activities have ceased (for the most part) and now they only have to deal with headstrong English women running amok through their keep.

Lady Elizabeth Walsingham provided a bit of comedic relief in earlier installments with the way she followed the gruff Laird Ian Munro around like a lost puppy.  She made calf eyes at his unruly visage, and made no secret that her young (15 y/o) heart was pining away for him. Elizabeth has pestered poor Ian so much, that he hasn't returned to Sutherland keep for three years! He wants no part of the obstinate Walsingham sisters.

Now 3 years later, Ian does return to Sutherland lands to accompany the other Highland lairds to Court for their annual meeting with King James. What Ian doesn't quite expect is that Elizabeth has matured into a lovely young woman, who doesn't seem to be pining for him any longer. I really liked Ian as a hero. He's a huge burly Highlander, fierce and braw, but with a horrible self-esteem problem. He doesn't quite know how to deal with women, and suffers from a bit of foot-in-mouth disease. I found his awkwardness to be endearing and I loved his gruff demeanor. I especially loved that he tried to woo Elizabeth and was taking advice from Fagan, who really doesn't know any more about women than Ian.

Elizabeth has matured somewhat and thinks she is ready to leave her feelings for Laird Munro behind. She doesn't quite know how to handle the mixed signals she is getting from him, but also seems to jump to the wrong conclusion whenever Ian is trying to make things right with her. I wasn't a huge fan of this heroine, but she wasn't overly annoying. She was a bit naive and short-sighted, and could have used a little more maturing.  But I think her naivety was deliberate because she surely didn't see the danger when it was right in her face.

I enjoyed the mystery of this installment.  Someone is killing people in the King's Privy Council and, being at court, the Highlanders are embroiled in the middle of the court intrigue. The culprits were predictable, but that didn't detract from the story overmuch. With court intrigue stories, I find that I prefer to know the culprit so I can appreciate all the villainous machinations of the parties.

I didn't enjoy the gaelic as much in this story for some reason. Usually I like it, but this time trying to sound out the gaelic phrases, followed by the English translations, was throwing me out of the story. I think I would have preferred to have fewer gaelic terms worked into the story in a way that you had to figure the meaning out from context rather than having an English translation.

Overall, this was another solid Scottish Historical Romance by Victoria Roberts. I received an advanced copy of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review.

Highland Spies