The Laird's Vow by Heather Grothaus
In medieval Scotland, Edinburgh merchant Tavish Cameron is shocked to discover he’s the heir to Roscraig Castle. No longer beholden to the burgess who has tried to cripple his business with massive tolls, Tavish heads to Roscraig to claim his birthright, only to find Lady Glenna Douglas already in residence, and claiming her father is the rightful laird.
There are an awful lot of plot threads in this book, beginning with a murder, continuing through poison, plague, kidnapping and much more, and a lot of them actually don’t get tied off because this is apparently the first in a series about the illegitimate children of a notorious criminal (who we learn in this book was innocent of the crimes he was accused of). If you feel able to deal with the mastermind of most of the Bad Stuff not remotely getting his comeuppance, you might enjoy this, but I just ended it feeling frustrated.
Glenna had to put up with a great deal, being the victim of an unseen puppeteer controlling her strings to torment her for her entire life, and then getting stuck with Tavish who frankly behaved absolutely abominably towards her, starting with actual physical violence and proceeding through bullying, humiliation and more. Why she would feel any affection for him whatsoever was absolutely beyond me. Tavish was a jerk, to both Glenna and the ‘other woman’ in the story, Audrey Keane, daughter of a wealthy merchant he was desperate to marry when in Edinburgh, but as soon as he gained some status he basically dumped her like yesterday's news. Frankly, I thought he was despicable.
I thought I’d already reached the bottom of the barrel with this story with the violent, bullying Tavish being sold as a romantic hero, but when (spoiler) the only person of colour in the story turned out to be a bad guy, I was definitely done with it. I was actually commending the author up to that point for writing a believable PoC in medieval Scotland, and then… well, I nearly threw my ebook reader out the window with rage.
I’m still mad a day after finishing this book. Angry the main villain didn’t get his comeuppance, angry at the bad representation, angry at Tavish being such a jerk. There’s no way I’ll be back for more in this series. One star.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review via NetGalley.