Book: Scot Under The Covers by Suzanne Enoch
Read before: No
Ownership: Birthday present from the lovely Cora at Tea Party Princess, but I had previously had a NetGalley e-ARC. All opinions my own.
This series is just so much fun. Three wild Scottish brothers have been forced by their mother to come to London and find English women to marry, to their horror, before their youngest sister can marry her fiancé. The middle brother, Niall, accidentally fell in love with the eldest’s intended bride in the first book, so he’s safely married off, and in this book we follow the youngest, Aden, as he attempts to resist the charms of his soon-to-be sister-in-law, Miranda…
If you’re looking for rapier-sharp banter between the leads, you are definitely looking at the right book. Miranda and Aden clash wits at first sight, with her disapproving of his reputation as a keen gambler, and him disapproving of her, well, Englishness. The fact that they immediately give up on being polite to each other leaves plenty of space for them to get under each other’s skin, which means plenty of fun for us. I loved them together – they develop a working relationship first, when Miranda recruits Aden’s help to save her from being forced into a marriage with an odious man, and slowly realise that not only do they not hate each other, they’re actually very compatible. The attraction builds quite slowly (for a romance novel!) which is an interesting take, and one that makes the chemistry feel very believable and the relationship feel pretty rock solid.
The plot sounds like it should be a straightforward ‘fake courtship’ trope, but as with It’s Getting Scot In Here, things are a bit deeper and more emotionally tangled than they appear at first sight. The book never stops being fun or funny, but it does have high stakes; if Aden and Miranda can’t work out a way to fix things, Miranda will essentially be sold into marriage with a man who has deliberately worked to entrap her. That’s quite dark, but instead of dwelling on the negative too much, the book uses it as a way to get a Hustle-style con going, with lots of twists that keep you as the reader (and often, the other characters) one step behind, wondering how it’s all going to come off, before revealing with a flourish that it has, in fact, worked perfectly. Aden is so clever – watching him work is genuinely a joy – and it’s clear he’s found a true equal in Miranda.
I really enjoyed the additional glimpses into the MacTaggert family situation, which is extremely messy – everything is well-enough explained that you don’t need to have read the first book, but it’s fun to see a different brother’s opinion of it. I can’t wait to read Coll’s book and get that final piece of the puzzle! We get a few nice cameos from Niall and Amy, the previous hero and heroine, though I would have liked them to be together slightly more on the page, as they’re mostly separate (but seem happy!). One thing I really like about this series is that the hero and heroine don’t feel like they’re falling in love in a vaccuum – they have connections that matter to them, and there’s as much vivacity in the side characters as there is in the leads.
Honestly, if you like a Regency romance with smart, caring leads, a great plot, and an overwhelming sense of fun, then this is pretty much perfect. Five out of five cats!