Review – Taming a Wild Scott (Claimed by a Highlander #1) by Rowan Keats

Taming a Wild Scott cover image
Publisher: Penguin
Publish Date: Nov 5th
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

In the Highlands of Scotland, plays for power are fought without rules, treachery and intrigue hold court, and, in one woman’s heart, danger stirs as relentlessly as passion…

Wrongfully accused of murder and left to die in a hellish Highland dungeon, Ana Bisset has lost all hope of freedom. But the beautiful healer’s luck takes an unexpected turn when a hooded stranger appears as her rescuer. After a harrowing escape, Ana settles alone in a quiet village where no one knows her past or her reputation. The last thing she ever expects is to meet her mysterious savior again…

Niall MacCurran is no hero, but a warrior on a dangerous mission to expose a threat to the realm. After his decision to free Ana, he now realizes that it is he who needs her help—willing or no—to advance his quest. But his growing feelings for the delicate yet resilient beauty soon jeopardize their safety—and not even Ana’s healing gifts may be enough to protect their love, or their lives.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

It has been a while since I read a historical romance so when the blurb for Taming a Wild Scott looked intriguing I decided to give it a try. While I enjoyed the overall idea, unfortunately I had some issues with the execution. I found I had a difficult time following some of the characters, action, and understanding the logic used by both the hero and heroine at different times. This story started off with a great hook–the heroine is dying in a pit, accused of murder, and the hero reluctantly adds her to his rescue mission but only goes far enough to get her out of the castle. He gives her a knife and some water then goes his separate way. This certainly made me curious.

Two months later, Niall spotted Ana in a village and decided to gain her assistance either willingly or through blackmail. The first thing that I found questionable was that they ended up in the same village months later. This struck me as almost a bit too much of a coincidence but I let that slide because I wanted to know what was so important as to result in blackmail. I also had hopes that the blackmail thread would vanish as the two got to know each other and their respective motivating factors.

The action in this story flashed between the village and local keep, a hideaway in the forest, and back by the original castle grounds where Ana had been imprisoned. Niall and his band of men decided to split into two separate groups, each focused on a different aspect of the overall problem. Half of them hid out near the village and the other half went back to the castle. Each time the story jumped from the local area back to the castle, I found myself distracted from what was supposed to be the primary action and main characters. While I understood events were happening simultaneously, equal emphasis was placed on them, which detracted from the romance. I might have had an easier time following the action if I was already familiar with the characters and their relationships with each other. Unfortunately the way I was introduced to them and how their connections were fleshed out seemed rather haphazard instead of deliberate. I think I would have preferred to have a shorter story that focused primarily on Ana and Niall, then a second story taking place during some of the same time that focused on the second group.

I also struggled with the relationship between Ana and Niall. Both of them continued to either cling to or use the original thread of blackmail throughout the majority of the story. As a result, I did not buy into their love for each other because it seemed too sudden instead of growing over time. I thought that each took unnecessary risks, done out of desperation maybe, but without considering the effects of their actions. Niall kept insisting that Ana do things to help him regardless of the fact that she was already under suspicion. I also had the impression, for most of the story that once he succeeded in his mission and she was no longer useful, he would just leave her as he did after the initial rescue. For Ana’s part, there was one particular scene when she decided to use her healing powers that I thought was incredibly stupid given the fact that twice her cottage had been the subject of an unannounced search that included any fresh wounds on Niall. In my mind, she was practically daring them to come and see evidence that something unusual was happening.

I enjoyed the overall idea and loved the opening chapter but Taming a Wild Scott did not live up to its potential for me. I struggled with several of the key elements, including the romance between Ana and Niall, and as a result, I found it extremely difficult to suspend disbelief regarding other elements. The inclusion of a secondary storyline that received almost as much attention also took away from my awareness of the primary romance. I think the amount of world-building and back-story included in Taming a Wild Scott was at the cost of the actual relationship-building. I hope that the second book has a much smoother focused delivery.

I give Taming a Wild Scott a C-

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Comments

  1. Robyn Lloyd says

    Well I love the words, “Wild Scot.” Based on the title alone I will have to pick this book up! I love romance stories that are unexpected, or unpredictable. I just finished a real page turner called, “A Thousand Years of Johnny Von” by author Edith M. Cortese. https://www.trumpetboypress.com/ It has 9 different ‘voices’ (8 historical/future vignettes + plus present day). Loved it!

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  2. Beth says

    @Robyn Lloyd: I totally agree, Robyn. This one looks like a keeper :-). Thanks for sharing A Thousand Years of Johnny Von! I can’t wait to check that one out.

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  3. says

    Too bad this one didn’t work for you. I wish I liked highland romances more than I do–they invariably look like fun and I invariably don’t get far. Was this part of a series?

    ReplyReply

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