Review – The Highlander’s English Bride by Anna Campbell

About the Book:

An impossible pairing…

Hamish Douglas, the mercurial Laird of Glen Lyon, has never got along with independent, smart-mouthed Emily Baylor. Which wouldn’t matter if this brilliant Scottish astronomer didn’t move in the same scientific circles as Emily and if her famous father wasn’t his mentor. But when Emily looks likely to derail the event which will make Hamish’s career, he loses his temper with the pretty miss, and his recklessness leaves her reputation in ruins.

A marriage made in scandal…

Emily has always thought her father’s spectacular protégé was far too arrogant for his own good. But what is she to do when the only way she can save her good name in society is to wed the unruly laird? Reluctantly she accepts Hamish’s proposal, but only on the condition that their union remains chaste. That shouldn’t be a problem; they’ve never been friends, let alone potential lovers―except that after they marry, Hamish reveals unexpected depths and a host of admirable qualities, and he’s so awfully handsome, and now the swaggering rogue admits that he desires her…

From the ballrooms of London to the grandeur of the western Highlands, a battle royal rages between these two strong-willed combatants. Neither plans to yield an inch―but are these smart people smart enough to see that sometimes the greatest victory lies in mutual surrender?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                       The Highlander’s English Bride: The Lairds Most Likely Book 6

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Hamish Douglas is just about to make a presentation, which he hopes will assure his becoming Royal Astronomer. Shortly before he starts, annoying Emily Baylor, the daughter of his former mentor and tutor, insists that he has made an error in his calculations, and that he will be ridiculed if he goes forward.  Having checked the calculations numerous times, Hamish is annoyed, but Emily won’t leave it alone.  Finally, before they come to a shouting match, Hamish insists they go outside to continue the discussion.  Rain, mud, a thorny bush, and a torn dress later, they realize they can’t return inside looking as they do.  They attempt to sneak away, but they are spotted, and the rumors start.

Hamish and Emily have a volatile ten year history.  When Hamish came to study under her father, Emily, who is brilliant in her own right, was totally unimpressed by him.  Her initial disdain set the course for their ongoing sniping and antagonism.  Now their scandalous encounter has caused Emily to be shunned, and it was already hard enough to be taken seriously before the gossip.  Hamish also has suffered some backlash, and feels that he must correct the situation by proposing marriage.  Of course Emily refuses, until she faces the reality of her situation.  Her father is in very poor health, and when he is gone, she will have no means of supporting herself, particularly with a tarnished reputation.  She reluctantly accepts, but with conditions, one of them being a chaste marriage.

While Hamish has no love for Emily, he does find her attractive, and respects her intelligence.  The thought that he’ll never share intimacy or have children with Emily is crushing, but he agrees, seeing no other way out of their situation.  Hamish is a wealthy man and a Scottish laird, and is extremely generous with Emily after they marry.  He gives her an allowance, showers her with gifts, provides care for her father, and hires extra servants.  He treats her with the utmost courtesy, which doesn’t seem to soften Emily’s demeanor at all.  When Emily’s father passes away just a few short weeks after their marriage, Hamish entreats Emily to tell him how he can help her.  Emily’s harsh response is for him to just leave her alone.  So he does.

Hamish tried his best to make his difficult marriage work, but Emily’s coldness truly hurt him.  Since she desired to be left alone, Hamish returned to his Scottish estate.  There he spent months working hard and trying not to think of his wife, whom he desires, even as she maddens him at the same time.  You can imagine Hamish’s surprise, when suddenly one day, Emily appears at his door, wanting to give their failed marriage a second chance.

I have to say that I really did not like Emily at all for the first part of this book.  I can’t deny that Hamish was a bit arrogant and short-tempered, but Emily’s reactions seemed extreme to me.  For example, she has an analytical and curious mind and had no past bad experience which would make her afraid of intimacy.  She did want children of her own, so why would she insist that their marriage be in name only?  Even after their marriage took place, she seemed to brush away all of Hamish’s overtures, never seeming to see the genuine man he was, and how much he was trying.  To me, the relationship was totally one sided, and her telling Hamish to leave her alone was truly heartbreaking.  After the shock of being left alone, and having time to grieve for her father, Emily begins to think.  Perhaps there’s a chance she can repair her broken marriage – if it’s not too late.  Since it’s apparent Hamish will not be returning to England, she’ll travel to Scotland.

This is where I began to fall in love with THE HIGHLANDER’S ENGLISH BRIDE.  Emily lets go of some of her pride, and makes her proposal to Hamish.  This version of Emily is much more mature, open, likeable, and even playful.  Hamish is captivated, but determined to take things slowly, wanting their union to work this time around.  Their previous animosity seems to have transformed into an equally strong passion as they finally indulge, finding a physical compatibility that leaves them both amazed.  This is a fine beginning, but what about love?  Emily now has to deal with the doubts of Hamish’s friends, as well as the scorn of some of his clan for her English-ness.  Once again, Hamish shows what an awesome man he is by how he handles their bumps in the road.  I do love this gentle giant!  Both Emily and Hamish showed significant growth and maturity from their younger, brash selves.  I enjoyed their journey and the people they became.  THE HIGHLANDER’S ENGLISH BRIDE is an emotional and definitely steamy read, one that will especially appeal to readers who enjoy enemies to lovers and a sweet happy ever after.    ~Rose

(Note:  This book is part of the Lairds Most Likely series, but easily reads as a standalone.  It’s also my favorite of the series!)

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