October 17, 2016
Smelly road-trip ahead.
We come to the end of the Oxenburg series by Karen Hawkins. That's ok by me, because I'm not too keen on made-up countries in Romanceland. I don't know why. Now that I think
about it, I'm not too keen on made-up royalty - dukes I can handle, but not fake rulers. I don't know why - maybe I feel that creating a "prince" is a little too close to a fairytale for me. I feel as if I'm being talked down to or should I say written down to. Give me a fake duke/earl/marquess anytime. Anyway Mad for Plaid is Nikolai Romanovin, a royal prince of Oxenburg's story. We will call him Nik. He's in Edinburgh involved in some kind of intrigue which has to do with his country, but then he gets a message from Lady Ailsa that his grandmother, Natasha, has been kidnapped. He has to decide whether he stays and intrigues or goes off to find his grandmother. Should he stay or should he go. Should he stay or should he go. What's a prince to do? He'll go, but he'll go in disguise - sort of. He's the tall one in the group and he walks regally and doesn't act like a groomsman, so his disguise pretty much sucks. I had to think he's really not much of an intriguer. Anyway, he and two other tall men are off to Scotland to find his grandmother and they are being stealth-like - sort of – except when he’s regal-like.
In Scotland we have Lady Edana and her granddaughter Lady Ailsa. Natasha happens to be visiting her friend Adana when Natasha is kidnapped. Now for some reason 22-year old Lady Ailsa seems to be in charge of a large rambling Scottish estate. I'm not sure why. Her father is still alive and she has older sisters, but they all seem to be in London. I never figured out what it was about Ailsa which would indicate that she was qualified to be in charge. She was stubborn, but I wasn't inclined to view her as being very savvy. I thought she made an awful lot of wrong decision and I couldn't really figure out why any of the men on the estate would follow her.
You know, the older I get the less I like kidnapping plots in Romanceland. In this book in particular there doesn't seem to be any urgency in finding the victims. Ailsa waits for days before she sends any note to Nik letting him know that his grand-mother has been kidnapped. Then he spends an inordinate amount of time deciding whether he should go. Then there is the silly disguise, which Ailsa sees through almost immediately, then there is the “you're-not-the-boss-of-me” squabble between Ailsa and Nik. For some reason Ailsa thinks she is some kind of super-hero. She is going to go off with a group of men over mountains, through canyons, fording streams, scouting, looking for signs - oh look! A broken twig. She never sends for help, she never notifies her father. I guess I didn't understand the necessity of even having a father in this book. The relationship between Ailsa and her father is never explained. We never know why he in London and she's down on the farm. Oh yes, this tale turns into a long, no-bath, romance road trip.
The villains. There is only one villain in this book, but there are two secondary characters who do very suspicious things. One of them does more covert things then the other, but I had a feeling that was just a red-herring to distract me from the real villain. I was right. I found it irritating that I was being manipulated into believing the one guy was guilty when I knew he wasn't. I like subtle villains, I like to be surprised by who the bad guy turns out to be. This wasn't subtle.
This was an ok book. The hero was a manly-man but the heroine was too stubborn for too long and she did some idiotic dangerous things. There were a lot of things left unexplained, a lot of things which didn't make sense and my mind had a hard time wrapping around a 22 year-old girl being left in charge of a large estate. Rather a bland read.
Time/Place: 1800s Scottish road trip