Review – The Laird’s Christmas Kiss by Anna Campbell

About the Book:

Down with love! 

Ever since she was fifteen, shy wallflower Elspeth Douglas has pined in vain for the attentions of dashing Brody Girvan, Laird of Invermackie. But the rakish Highlander doesn’t even know she’s alive. Now she’s twenty, she realizes that she’ll never be happy until she stops loving her brother’s handsome friend. When family and friends gather at Achnasheen Castle for Christmas, she intends to show the world that’s she’s all grown up, and grown out of silly crushes on gorgeous Scotsmen. So take that, my gallant laddie!

Girls just want to have fun… 

Except it turns out that Brody isn’t singing from the same Christmas carol sheet. Elspeth decides she’s not interested in him anymore, just as he decides he’s very interested indeed. In fact, now he looks more closely, his friend Hamish’s sister is pretty and funny and forthright – and just the lassie to share his Highland estate. Convincing his little wren of his romantic intentions is difficult enough, even before she undergoes a makeover and becomes the belle of Achnasheen. For once in his life, dissolute Brody is burdened with honorable intentions, while the lady he pursues is set on flirtation with no strings attached.

Deck the halls with mistletoe! 

With interfering friends and a crate of imported mistletoe thrown into the mix, the stage is set for a house party rife with secrets, clandestine kisses, misunderstandings, heartache, scandal, and love triumphant.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
The Laird’s Christmas Kiss: The Lairds Most Likely Book 2

My Review:                      

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Brody Girvan, Laird Invermackie, deserves his rakish reputation.  The handsome and charming laird has spent the last several years enjoying life, society, and women.  But over the last year he’s noticed a restlessness, a dissatisfaction with his lifestyle.  While attending a Christmas gathering of family and friends, Brody comes down to breakfast early, feeling out-of-sorts after his previous evening of excessive drinking.  The only other person at breakfast is a young lady, his friend, Hamish’s, sister.  Though she’s been at these gatherings for years, it just comes to his attention how lovely she is.  When Brody tries to start a conversation with her, he’s shocked to find that his usual charm is met with sullen looks and total disinterest.

Elspeth Douglas is the epitome of the quiet wallflower who stays in the background.  Her family calls her “Mouse,” and she is unlike her other siblings, who all take after their mother, with their tall, golden looks.  She is short, dark, and curvy, and takes after her father.  For five years, Elspeth has been in love with Brody, though he’s never paid her the least bit of attention.  This year, she’s determined that things will change.  Elspeth gives herself a stern talking-to, deciding firmly to put Brody from her mind, and to move forward with her life.  How ironic that he now seeks her out and wants to spend more time with her!

Brody is intrigued that Elspeth isn’t awed by his charm and good looks.  She doesn’t flirt or flatter him.  For the first time in his life, Brody thinks about settling down, and believes he may have found the perfect woman to be his wife.  While Elspeth suspects that Brody’s attention to her is due to the lack of any other young lady available, she decides to have a bit of fun without putting her heart in danger.  With the help of her hostess, Marina, Elspeth makes some changes to her wardrobe, ditching her dowdy clothes for more colorful and flattering dresses.  Marina’s maid also styles Elspeth’s hair in a softer, becoming style which flatters her face.  When the new and improved Elspeth makes her appearance, Brody is surprisingly disappointed.  It’s not that he doesn’t find her more beautiful than ever – he does – but now her loveliness is blatant for everyone to see, not just him.

Amidst the mistletoe and other holiday festivities, Brody and Elspeth begin their new relationship, though each has a different goal in mind.  Their attraction leads to some heated kisses and encounters, with Elspeth thinking only to enjoy the moment and the attentions of a handsome man, while Brody is working his way up to a proposal.  One of those secret meetings soon becomes not-so-secret, and before long, the whole population of the house party is involved, with everyone shouting their opinion.  This scene is so vivid, that I actually saw it play out in my mind.  The near fights, the accusations, the threats, all of the chaos is amusing while actually being very sad.

Elspeth refuses Brody’s proposal, which she feels was forced, due to their being caught alone together, while he’s hurt that she doesn’t care enough to accept him.  It’s going to take a Christmas miracle for this couple to get together, as well as for all of the quarreling relatives to reconcile.

I adore a story about a wallflower, and I really liked Elspeth.  I actually would have liked to see her make Brody’s pursuit a little more difficult, but five years of pining is a lot to overcome.  Her transformation was lovely, and it was great to see her self confidence bloom.  It took longer for me to love Brody, as he did start off as quite shallow, but he was clearly maturing and changing.  I felt the initial mistakes they made were due to their both being so young.  THE LAIRD’S CHRISTMAS KISS is both light, yet serious, as it showcases family dynamics, insecurities, friendships, and misunderstandings.  But most of all, it’s a warm and entertaining holiday romance with a satisfying happy ever after.    ~Rose

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