Tracy’s rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Series: Highlanders of Balforss, #4
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Louisa Robertson is known far and wide as the General’s daughter from hell – a title that she more than lives up to. The story opens with Louisa’s father pulling her off stage during a performance of Twelfth Night, where is performing the part of Viola, dressed in trousers. Her father is furious and makes it clear that she has finally pushed him as far as he will go. He tells her that she will be married by the end of the summer.
Ian Sinclair longs to return to the army, so when his former commander and the man who saved his life, General Sir Thomas Robertson aka the Tartan Terror requests a meeting, Ian thinks that he will be offered a commission. He is disappointed to learn that the General wants him to take his daughter to America on his ship the Gael Forss, the pirate ship he and his family took years ago and converted into a merchant vessel. If he delivers her, the General will award him a commission. Thinking that this is merely a short delay before he claims his prize, he agrees. He heads back to the docks and is dealt another shock – an old woman is looking for him and informs him that he has a son – the product of a brief affair seven years ago. He meets his son Rory and learn that Alice the widow he had an affair with died giving birth. He is wracked with guilt and shame, but promises to set everything to rights when he returns from America.
Meanwhile, Louisa has no intention of marrying, she hatches a plan to switch places with her maid Mairi, who is more than willing to marry her betrothed, Mr. Kirby. Louisa will pretend to be Mairi and after she sees them married, plans to go to New York and become an actress. Her father left for Belfast, so she just has to get on the ship without anyone learning of the ruse. She convinces her brother Connor to see her off on the docks and she and Mairi board the ship and begin their deception.
During the journey, Louisa begins to realize the magnitude of her lies and how it will affect Ian and even Mairi, but she thinks it is too late to do anything about it. When they arrive, the tension between Ian and Louisa comes to a head and they become lovers, but when Mairi marries Mr. Kirby and a surprise visit from her brother Nathan reveals the truth will Ian still want her? And when she learns his secret, will she be accepting or will she live up to her nickname in truth?
This was an interesting story with a lot of twists and turns, it dragged a bit in the middle, but the last 30% is a non-stop rollercoaster of revelations, bad decisions, passion and a rocky road to HEA. I thought the idea of the story was great, but I really, really disliked Louisa. She was selfish, hypocritical, immature, irrational and just plain stupid. She does realize that what she has done is wrong, but still carries on with the lie and then when she is called out, makes one stupid decision after another instead of owning her misdeeds. I think the author was going for a “Taming of the Shrew” simile, but for me, it just didn’t work, Louisa was unlikable and if I didn’t already dislike her, I definitely would have at the end when she learns his secret. Personally, I think Ian should have let her go and run away as fast as he could. He was a wonderful hero and I wish he could have gotten a better heroine than the “General’s Daughter from Hell” and I wondered why everyone believed that Ian would face the General’s wrath for HER deception – he never met her, so why would he be blamed?? It really made no sense to me, but maybe Louisa inherited her irrational, hypocritical nature from her father.
This is the fourth book in the Highlanders of Balforss, but it could be read as a stand alone title. I liked the idea of the book, but for me, this installment just fell flat.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*