Dear Author. I think I just surfed on to it. What really interested me was that there was a deaf heroine. I was really interested to see how a romance novel would portray a woman with a disability; especially since I have had some issues with my own hearing in the past year.
I think I summarize too much in reviews so I'll just get into it. The review by Jane over at Dear Author (DA) had two lines that echoed in my head the whole time I was reading this book "Eveline [Armstrong] is put through the ringer" and "Graeme [Montgomery] is such an honorable guy." Because that is what it came down to for me. The two were just freaking adorable, her disability was well portrayed. I'm not sure how long it would take someone to learn to read lips, but I really related to how her deafness affected her day to day life. Sometimes when I'm in a situation where I can't hear I'll just go off into my own world. But jeez, at every turn something terrible happens to her. She is tormented by the bad guy Ian, she's deaf, she is forced to marry Graeme. Then she is tortured by the women in his keep (because she is an Armstrong and there has been a terrible feud between them and the Montgomerys)
Graeme is just so upstanding. The king commands him to marry her when everyone thinks she's "daft." Even before the marriage he is talking about how he'll have to turn the keep over to one of his brothers since he'd never have sex with a woman who didn't understand what was happening and then he'd just be celibate because he could never dishonor this woman or the institution of marriage. He's practically a Saint. But he does stand by her and they fall instantly in love and they are both just so adorable.
Things I Liked:
The hero and the heroine
Things I disliked:
The excessive melodrama. The bad guy practically twirls his mustache. Almost at every turn something terrible happens to the girl. She is really bullied by the women of the keep. They call her bitch multiple times, they trick her into doing the worst household tasks, it actually comes off a bit high school. It's like bullying and hazing had a Scottish baby.
I know I shouldn't complain about the melodrama in a romance novel, but there are some points where even I find it to be excessive and ham handed. Especially when the bullying sounds like something I've read before, repeatedly.
The modern turns of phrase mixed with overused period language. I should have turned it into a drinking game for each time they said "'tis" but at least I didn't read "canna" once. She used a phrase like "eat dirt" but in the next page it's "tis, tis, tis" all over the place. It seemed like an odd juxtaposition, and to be honest made the few medieval words into cheap ploys to sound period. It wouldn't have bothered me as much if there had been less period words, the bad use just drew attention to their oddness. It was one of many things that weren't period accurate, but that's not automatically a deal breaker for me.
Either way, I still had fun. I still really liked the hero and heroine, I was happy to finish it just to see how it would all work out. I wanted Eveline to get a HEA, which she did. I have a few more complaints, but I actually just finished the sequel and since they're more grievous in next book I'll bring them up in my next review. I give it 3 out of 5 freaking adorable Scottish Lairds.
You can buy it here and at your friendly neighborhood indie.