|The Seduction of Elliot McBride|
(Highland Pleasures #5)
PROPERLY IMPROPER…AND DARING TO LOVE…The Seduction of Elliot McBride is a pleasant romance with very little conflict between the protagonists and/or seduction. In my opinion, the title doesn't really fit this book. The readers immediately know that Elliot and Juliana love each other. Elliot and Juliana also know that there are feelings between them, if not love... something! There is definitely chemistry.
Juliana St. John was raised to be very proper. After a long engagement, her wedding day dawns—only for Juliana to find herself jilted at the altar.
Fleeing the mocking crowd, she stumbles upon Elliot McBride, the tall, passionate Scot who was her first love. His teasing manner gives her an idea, and she asks Elliot to save her from an uncertain future—by marrying her…
After escaping brutal imprisonment, Elliot has returned to Scotland a vastly wealthy yet tormented man. Now Juliana has her hands full restoring his half-ruined manor in the Scottish Highlands and trying to repair the broken heart of the man some call irredeemably mad. Though beautiful and spirited, Juliana wonders if that will be enough to win a second chance at love.
This couple is kept apart when Elliot goes to India first to join the service and then stays to make his fortune. A series of events leads Elliot to be kidnapped and tortured for a whole year by a local tribe. He escapes and returns to Scotland just in time to marry Juliana as she is being jilted at the altar by her fiancé. The two go off to a dilapidated castle located in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands with a small staff Elliot brought along from India.
Julianna is pretty happy with the fact that she married Elliot, but on her wedding night finds out that there is something wrong with him. The torture Elliot suffered at the hands of those tribesmen left psychological scars and have left him traumatized. There are the flashbacks that can end up in violent reactions, and the moments when he is taken by the darkness and falls into a black pit of despair. Although it is evident that he suffers from a form of PTSD, everyone thinks Elliot is mad, including himself.
Juliana is the perfect wife, believing that Elliot will recover from these episodes even as she wishes that he would return to being that same young man she knew when they were growing up together. Elliot finds solace and peace in Juliana's presence and her kindness, but more so in her arms.
Jennifer Ashley introduces an external conflict to help Elliot come to terms with his situation providing some action and a mystery to the story. This story line also serves to establish Juliana's complete belief in Elliot. This aspect of the story is good, but frankly it takes a lot of page time and is not necessarily engrossing or intriguing.
The secondary characters are average and with the exception of Mahindar and Uncle McGregor the others do not contribute much since there is a language barrier -- there is limited to no dialog so that we are told what they think or do. Ashley doesn't establish an emotional connection between the reader and the little girl in the story, Priti, making her pretty much a non-issue.
I enjoyed this historical romance by Ashley as an average read. I found chemistry, love between the main characters, and plenty of well written sexy scenes. Unfortunately, the lack of conflict and sexual tension between Juliana and Elliot makes this an average romance without any of those ups and downs that make for a memorable and/or emotionally charged read. Regardless, I am looking forward to reading the next installment in this series, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie! Yes to Daniel!
Category: Historical Romance
Series: Highland Pleasures, #5
Publisher/Release Date: Berkeley/December 31, 2012
Visit Jennifer Ashley here.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Book 1
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage, Book 2
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, Book 3
The Duke's Perfect Wife, #4
A MacKenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift, #4.5
The Seduction of Elliot McBride, #5