My rating: 4 of 5 stars
HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER (The Renegade Royals #4) by Vanessa Kelly is a cute, lighthearted, and sweet frenemies-to-lovers Regency-era romance. After the heroine Edie was caught at a ball kissing a notorious rake, her overbearing mother accompanies her daughter to Alisdair Gilbride’s Scottish castle to weather out the gossip during the winter season. Alisdair (Alec), former spy and heir to a Scottish earldom, has been ordered to return home and face his responsibilities. Though Edie doesn’t want Alec to accompany her and her mother, Alec thinks that she can help him with the family troubles he has been avoiding for the past ten years.
As they journey to Scotland, Edie and Alec spend some time in close quarters, visiting his land and enjoying the beauty of the countryside. Their playful banter hints at their growing attraction, which is threatened by a shadowy assassin and Alec’s family troubles. At the castle, Alec doesn’t hide his attraction for her and flirts with her outrageously in front of their guests. When they’re alone together, he proves to her that his flirtations aren’t shallow, that he does want to court her and marry her, if there weren’t any impediments. Sparks fly, their encounters heat up, until their pent-up longings reach a boiling point.
I don’t read a lot of Scottish highlander historical romances, so until I read this novel, I had no idea how the word “lass” spoken as an endearment could be so sweet and sexy. Alec is one hot, darling Scot. The banter between Alec and Edie was hilarious, and Edie’s mother was a scene stealer. It turned out that her mother wasn’t the typical overbearing, stickler for propriety, matchmaking mama, but a complex character. I loved how she charged into the fray, defended her daughter, and had a wicked sense of humor.
HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER was really fun to read. I did have some difficulty understanding the Scottish inheritance rules and family connections, and the ending felt a little rushed. But overall, I enjoyed this romance. Though set in Scotland, it felt like a real Regency romp, because it made me laugh with its quirky characters and playful and flirtatious banter.
*This review is based on an eARC I received from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.