4.5 “The Imposter Who Healed The Earl’s Heart” Stars for the story and narration!
I have been an avid fan of the Victorian Rebels Series, so I was eager to listen to the latest addition: The Scot Beds His Wife. Interestingly, while this installment has a slightly different feel than the prior books which all have a “rebel” hero, rather than a “rebel” heroine, it still provided an intriguing and suspense-filled plot along with a believable and heartfelt romance which captivated my attention and kept me listening to the very end. Additionally, Derek Perkins–the narrator of the Victorian Rebels Series–has grown on me as a narrator throughout my listen of this series, and his adept narration allowed me to settle right into the story from start to end.
One bit of caution is worth noting though. In a rather unusual move, at least for historical romance, Ms. Byrne makes one stylistic change in her writing that caught me a bit off guard and certainly jarred me from the story from time to time. I think it may possibly be Ms. Byrne’s way of bringing to life the differences between an “unladylike” American heroine and a British “lady” heroine, but I think it was an effect that was overdone and in fact was a bit distracting (moreover, as an American, I found it and its insinuation a bit offensive). Specifically, I’m referring to the amount of bad words used in this book. At a few points it almost sounded more like an MC romance than a historical romance (especially in the heroine’s diction). Though I wish more of this language had been edited out in the editing process, putting this one distracting effect aside, I really did enjoy the story and romance, so I’ve only deducted a 0.5 point for this negative detractor.
The hero of this book is Gavin St. James, the Earl of Thorne, and the younger brother of the Demon Highlander, Liam MacKenzie, the hero of the 3rd book (The Highlander). If you have read or listened to that book, you know that their father was a monster who had some very sadistic bedroom proclivities and who subjected his sons to much pain growing up (including with respect to their first time experiences). This horrible childhood, and the scars that his mother still has from those terrible years, has led Gavin’s estrangement from his father and indeed his entire family (except for his mother who still lives with him though she is now blind). Gavin wishes nothing more than to take over the neighboring land so he can completely disassociate himself from his family. The only problem is that the owner of that land, whose family was also destroyed by his father, has equally vowed never to sell a MacKenzie.
This is the backdrop that Samantha Masters walks into. Samantha is an American woman who naively marries into a family that commits train robberies. She mostly goes along with it as she has little choice until the day that her husband attempts to kill a woman that she befriended on the train. In a moment that changes the course of her life, she kills her husband to save that woman: Alison Ross (the heir to the land that Gavin covets). Alison is so thankful for Samantha’s heroic act, that she tells her about her plight. Alison, who is about to get married in America, doesn’t want to go back to Scotland but she also doesn’t want to sell her family’s land to Gavin who has been writing letters to her with offers to buy the land. So the two agree that Samantha will go in Alison’s place and pretend to be Alison.
Of course when Sam and Gavin meet–sparks fly both of the spicy and fighting variety. Could there possibly be a HEA under these circumstances?
Derek Perkins once again returns to narrate the fifth book in the Victorian Rebels Series. Mr. Perkins does a fabulous job of bringing to life the characters in this book. Perhaps what I found the most impressive in this story is that Mr. Perkins was challenged to create a new accent (an American one for the heroine), and I was genuinely impressed that he was able to not only pull off his typical Scottish and British accents but also an American accent. Mr. Perkins once again also excelled at imparting emotion into this roller coaster of a journey romance.
All in all, with the language issues aside, The Scot Beds His Wife was another great addition to the Victorian Rebels Series. Now I can’t wait to listen to more of Ms. Byrne’s works!
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.