Wild and Wicked in Scotland
Unquestionably, Melody Thomas is the best of Avon’s newer writers and she continues her winning streak in her latest release. This, book, though, isn’t without its challenges.
During the first fifty pages or so, I was afraid that Wild and Wicked in Scotland was going to be one of those frustrating mistaken identity books in which a betrothed couple who’ve never met fall in love without knowing who the other really is. It isn’t. Still, while I was still sighing with relief at narrowly escaping that fate, the first of several Big Misunderstandings occurred. And occurred again. Add in the fact that this is a plot and not a character-driven book and my grade settles at a B- – a not totally enthusiastic recommendation.
Cassandra Sheridan is an American heiress betrothed to a duke’s heir who is reputed to be – and I don’t think this will come as much of a surprise to most AAR readers – a wastrel and a scoundrel. When Devlyn St. Clair, the Earl of Hampstead, fails to show for their betrothal party, Cassie decides that the only way she can truly “experience life” will be to run away from her family and travel by coach to Scotland to visit a close friend she hasn’t seen since her betrothal.
On the way she meets an arrogant man dressed in homespun clothes who – you’ll never guess – is really Devlyn. And you’ll also never guess that Devlyn really isn’t a wastrel and a scoundrel but is actually employed as some kind of government secret agent trying to bust up what seems to be an early version of the Russian mafia.
Refreshingly enough, Devlyn and Cassie figure out quite promptly just who the other is. Soon enough they’re traveling together when it’s clear that danger to Devlyn also means danger to Cassie. Along the way, sparks fly.
Since there is so much plot in this book, I don’t want to give away any more other than to say that there is so much going on here that the romance of Cassie and Devlyn gets a bit lost in all the goings-on. There are plenty of sex scenes, however, and it’s fair to say that these constitute most of the character development.
Still, with all that said, Ms. Thomas is so skilled at telling her story and her prose is so smooth that even when I didn’t like the direction the story was taking (I simply loathe a Big Mis), I still found myself compulsively turning pages. Cassie is a likable heroine who evolves nicely from spoiled heiress into a resourceful young woman. On the other hand, however, Devlyn felt a bit more familiar since he is firmly within the nobleman-spy school of romance hero. Cassie felt, in a word, far more real than her hero.
Ultimately, however, it’s hard not to be excited about a new book by Melody Thomas. All nitpicks aside (and, yes, I’ll admit there is some nitpicking here), she is unquestionably a gifted storyteller and I will continue to eagerly follow her progress.