May 26, 2020

The Highlander’s English Bride

By Vanessa Kelly
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An unexpected, embarrassing and disastrous first impression provides the basis of a friends-to-lovers historical romance between a curious, winsome heroine and a grumpy Scottish spy in Vanessa Kelly’s The Highlander’s English Bride.

Lady Sabrina Bell is honestly having the worst day. After being stood up by a suitor, she becomes the victim of a mugging and winds up in the river, soaked to the bone. Her rescuer: highlander Graeme Kendrick. The two begin a friendship, the basis of which is Sabrina’s uncanny ability to get herself into trouble. Graeme steps into the role of “knight in shining armor” begrudgingly, and the two make up the classic romance coupling of a hapless ray of sunshine who invades the heart of a buff, solitary curmudgeon.

Because of the secretive nature of Graeme’s work, he’s hesitant to form any sort of serious romantic attachment. Unfortunately for Graeme, his meddling family is determined to nudge him toward love and it doesn’t take much for Sabrina to win them over. Since this is the third book in Kelly’s Clan Kendrick series, readers can expect visits from the previous books’ large and lively cast, with plenty of Easter eggs for dedicated fans. Newbies, though, shouldn’t be deterred. This book works well on its own as a historical romance packed with mischief and mayhem!

Sabrina’s sweet and seemingly flighty nature hides a woman who knows what she wants and, put simply, she wants Graeme. If you prefer romances where the heroine is the one attempting to court the hero, The Highlander’s English Bride is a worthy addition to that list. Graeme possesses a deep sense of loyalty to his family and his country and worries about jeopardizing both by falling for Sabrina. Though opposites in personality, they are consistently drawn into riotous scenes of adventure and sharp-tongued banter. Retiring to an isolated and bucolic country estate is not their sort of happy ending. Theirs is a lovely coupling in which neither the hero nor the heroine feels like they have to compromise or sacrifice part of themselves to make things work.

In addition to the romance, there’s also an intricate mystery (after all, Graeme still has a job to do) that’s more of an adventurous road trip than a tightly wound whodunnit. The back and forth between the romantic main plot and action subplot guarantee that you’ll never be bored. A Vanessa Kelly historical romance is a lot like being at a carnival: It’s a whirlwind of fun with the lightness of cotton candy, the rush of a tilt-a-whirl and the satisfaction of a night well planned. There are few better choices than than this bubbly romance that delivers a heartwarming happily ever after.

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