It’s no secret that fantasy and paranormal romances are gutting the market these days. It’s also no secret to most romance readers that ho-hum, been-there-done-that, screamingly average fantasy and paranormal romances make up the vast majority of those books. Submitted for approval is this prime example.
Start with a Highland lord. (Everybody knows Highlanders are popular.) Throw in a few hunky faeries. (Let’s hook in those fantasy readers.) Add a few romantic suspense elements. (Ditto all those RS readers.) Season it all with a few hot sex scenes and an older woman-younger man scenario (but not really because our hero only appears to be ten years younger) and the final result is…well, an average book.
The book’s heroine is an American romance novelist suffering from writer’s block. She finds a Highland cottage on the Internet and rents it sight unseen for the summer. Only she doesn’t know that her idyllic hideaway just happens to be near a portal to the world of the Fae protected by a Guardian. And would you be surprised to learn that the multi-hundred year old Guardian is our hot Highlander hero?
Turns out that things are not all peachy-keen in the land of the Fae and some really bad guys are out to get the really good guys and we hapless humans (including our heroine who is connected in a way she didn’t understand with all those hunky faeries) are about to get caught in the middle. Along the way the reader is treated to high society parties, those promised hot sex scenes, and a Highland hero who suffers from a malady we all know verra well: Mysterious Disappearing Dialect Syndrome. Like most sufferers of MDDS, one minute our hero is “dinna-ing” and “wee-ing” with the best of them only to – poof! – speak like a proper English gentleman the next. This occurs repeatedly throughout the book.
As for the characters here, they’re well enough drawn, but not even remotely memorable or special. And, frankly, characters from the author’s first book in this series feature so heavily that I was also plagued by a late-to-the-party feeling. Not to even mention, of course, having to wade through all the obvious set-ups for the next. Because everybody knows it’s all about building your own franchise these days with series, series, series, series books, right?
Highland Guardian is the reading equivalent of …say, an average piece of toast. It tastes okay while you’re eating it and it sort of fills you up, but almost as soon as you’ve finished, you start regretting all those wasted carbs. Time is valuable. There’s a very good chance yours could be better spent.