Monday, July 31, 2017

Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes

Fourth and Final Book for BookTubeAThon 2017 Completed!
Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes

Second book in the Windham Brides series

3.25 stars

Too Scot to Handle follows Anwen Windham, a red-headed firecracker who never gets to speak or mind due to her succumbing to near-death at a young age. Her over-protective sisters don’t allow her much freedom, but one place she is able to help is at the orphanage, The House of Urchins. Colin MacHugh sees through Anwen’s quiet nature and they find themselves at a constant battle of wits. When the orphanage faces closing down, the Windhams through a card party to raise funds to save the boys. However, Colin has made enemies in the London ton and everything surrounding Anwen and Colin is about to implode if they don’t move quick enough to uncover who is plotting against them. One word that comes to mind when trying to describe this novel is underwhelming. I adored the previous novel to the Windham Brides and couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Sadly, I found this novel incredibly easy to put down and this is not a winning factor for a Historical Romance novel. HRs need to be fast-paced and un-putdownable. When I pick up an HR, I’m expecting to fly through this novel. When I pick an HR novel with a Scottish leading hero, I’m expecting to be smitten and ready to move to Scotland. This novel fell in the middle of those expectations. I do still want to move to Scotland and find myself a kilted hottie, but I wasn’t smitten with Colin and I feel like he’s a pretty forgettable hero. This novel does, thankfully, become fast-paced and the “mystery” enhanced the pace.

The writing in this novel is a little… flaky. The opening has a nice allusion to OG historical romance novel, Pride & Prejudice, which is sure to make Jane Austen fangirls swoon, but the opening chapter is a drag. Colin’s opening PoV was jarring and didn’t grab me into the story. However, it quickly goes into alternating PoVs with a wide cast of characters outside of the primary focus. I don’t mind Burrowes style of random PoVs, but it does take me away from the central story and it can get a little redundant and cumbersome for such a short novel. The only outside PoVs that were central to this story were the “villain” and besides that one PoV, I don’t feel it was necessary to have PoVs from the orphanage, the Windhams, and the previous couple from book 1 who are now recently married and honeymooning. It’s too ambitious for a novel that doesn’t need to be overly ambitious.

Whimsical Writing: 3

Anwen is a sweet character. She has a good heart and wants to help those in need, probably because she herself knows what it is like to be absolutely hopeless and near death. However, I didn’t find her all that interesting. She’s a nice character, but that’s it. Nice. Sweet. Plain. She doesn’t really bring anything to the table for me and I’m sure I’ll forget about her until I pick up the next Windham Brides novel. There was also a feminist conversation with her sisters about how they were tired of men being considered gentlemen when their actions were far from polite on the ballroom floor. However, this conversation quickly turned from a promising moment of feminists putting their feet down and turned to gossiping about the all so swoony hero and Anwen’s romance with him.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 3

Colin is also just a nice character. He was a soldier, but I didn’t really feel like he was. I’ve read HRs where the hero is a soldier and those novels really showed different facets of what a man faces. Love in the Afternoon is a perfect example of a hero suffering with PTSD and really struggling to face or fit in with society. A recent read, The Highland Commander, had an intense battle that the navy hero participated in and this really showed the risks that men enlist to in fighting for their country. Even the previous novel in this series, The Trouble with Dukes, shows how rumors about a soldier and his actions to defend his country could brand him as undesirable by polite society. However, Colin didn’t feel like a soldier. There was constant mentioning of it and his obsessive tendencies to have a regimented schedule, but it didn’t feel real. I do like Colin, but I don’t love him. He’s go the usual dashing qualities, but nothing that really stands out.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 3

The Villain- Well, I’m not sure how to express my extreme dislike for this character without spoiling several major plot points, so this section will be a spoiler section, so skip ahead past the villain scale if you don’t want to be spoiled. The Montague drama was extremely annoying. From the start, Montague is annoying, crass, and rude. Have you ever a met person who just says things that leave a bad taste in your mouth, but you don’t want to jump to conclusions about the person’s character? That’s how Montague is in this novel. Although I instantly saw him to be the dirty, conning, manipulative snake that he is and couldn’t for the life of me fathom why Colin would even stay in presence. It was obvious that they were never friends and were only using each other for different personal gains. Montague was using Colin for his money- to buy him beer- and make him look like a nice guy who is taking the wayward Scot in and showing him polite society. Colin was using Montague to learn about society and make connections. Colin was, in my opinion, wasting his time and it all came to fruition in the end when Montague showed his true colors. The true thief was obvious from the start, but that’s okay. It was still a fun “mystery”.

Villain Scale: 3.5

I love the sisterly bond between Charlotte, Elizabeth, and Anwen. There were some wonderful scenes full of love as well as annoyance. It felt authentic and it was one of my favorite parts of this novel.

Character Scale: 4

I did really like the couple in this story. They worked well together and were interesting. They don’t stand alone on their own, but as a couple they are cute. However, these cringey sex scenes have got to stop. Please don’t call orgasms rainbows. “Make me see rainbows. Make me feel rainbows.” NO THANK YOU! This novel is sure to be a hit for fans of Grace Burrowes and I do recommend it if you are a fan of The Trouble with Dukes.

Plotastic Scale: 3

Cover Thoughts: It’s kind of cringey and I don’t know why. I think it’s the dress.

Thank you, Forever Central Publishing for sending me a physical copy in exchange for an honest review.

Other Windham Brides books:
1) The Trouble with Dukes 4.25 stars 

Have you read Too Scot to Handle or The Trouble with Dukes? What are some of your favorite HR novels? Any memorable characters that you just love to gush about? I'd love to hear about them below in the comments! 

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