The Highlander’s Irish Bride by Vanessa Kelly
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Clan Kendrick, #4
Release Date: July 27, 2021
When Kathleen Calvert, the daughter of Baron Gorey finds herself enmeshed in scandal, her step-mother insists that she leave London and go to stay with her cousin Sabrina in the highlands, Kathleen is devastated and longs to return home to Ireland. But her step-mother is adamant and refuses to back down, thankfully, Kathleen’s friend, Gillian, the Duchess of Leverton is planning a trip to Glasgow and offers to have Kathleen join her for a few weeks before heading to the highlands.
Kathleen and Gillian set out and just two days into the trip learn that Kathleen’s 16-year-old step-sister Jeannie has stowed away and refuses to return home. Reluctantly, Kathleen agrees to let Jeannie travel with them as Gillian assures them that her cousin Victoria Kendrick, the Countess of Arnprior (who happens to be sister-in-law to Sabrina) will not mind the extra company. So off they go.
When they arrive, they are welcomed with open arms by the family, all except Grant, who seems to be the complete opposite of Kathleen in every way imaginable, despite the family’s hints that super-sober and oh-so-boring Grant was once a hellraiser of the first order. Kathleen finds herself fighting an attraction to him and is almost relieved when Jeannie creates a scene that will see them traveling to the highlands much sooner than expected. But her relief is cut short when the matchmaking Kendricks insist that Grant accompany the ladies to Lochnager, home to his sister-in-law Sabrina and his twin brother, Graeme. Unbeknownst to Kathleen, Grant is also fighting an inconvenient attraction, but with no way out of escorting them, he agrees.
The trip turns out to be longer than expected when they are held up by highwaymen and his brother confesses needing help to get to the bottom of a recent crime wave. Grant doesn’t think he should stay, worried that he won’t be able to deny his attraction to Kathleen for much longer, but can’t refuse to help his brother. So he stays and their attraction grows, but will they get a HEA or will they leave the highlands brokenhearted?
The is was a well-written story, with great characters and a very slow-burning romance. The book is filled with witty banter, outspoken, unrepentant females, denied attraction, a heroine with surprising baby-calming talents, warm love scenes, more than one unrequited crush, a teenager with a penchant for causing trouble, meddling matchmakers, evil villains, and finally a well-deserved HEA. I liked this story, but OMG – Jeannie was such a brat, I find it hard to believe she was 16, because she acted like she was 6 most of the time, and EVERYONE coddled her, it was so over-the-top and annoying. In addition to that was the mystery of her family – if Kathleen and Jeannie were in fact step-sisters, why did they have the same last name? Not really a big deal, but I found it distracting. Overall, it was a good read with a decent mystery and likable leads. This is the fourth book in the series and could be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the books in order (including the Improper Princesses series if you are interested in Victoria & Gillian’s stories).
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*