The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki (Lords of the Highlands #1)

Available: March 28, 2017 Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Forever

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

She’ll put her life on the line for him . . . When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she’s intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.

Yet she can never learn his true identity.

Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he’s the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she’s by his side day and night. But the longer he’s with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .

The Highland Duke had many of the individual qualities that normally add up to a complete winner of a book for me. I’m a sucker for big, tough Highlanders. I love opposites attract love stories, and you don’t get more opposite than a duke hero and a gypsy healer. I absolutely adored the last book I read by Amy Jarecki, so I was very excited to dive right in to this one.

Unfortunately I wasn’t bowled over by this book. I’ve read what other reviewers have said about it and I don’t think I was reading the same book! I loved everything about Amy Jarecki’s writing in the past, but this one felt different. I thought the beginning, when Akira finds Geordie and risks her life to save his, was very well done. It set the pace for a grand adventure, but after that it never really lived up to it.

I SO wanted to be able to join the others in giving a rave review of this book, but I just felt something was lacking. Geordie (gah – I hated that name!) was not a convincing strong, sexy Scottish hero. He seemed kind of beta to me, which was not the normal stereotype. He was protective of Akira and cared for her, but in my opinion he revealed a flaw in his character when he seduced her. After weeks of hiding his identity and convincing himself he can’t allow anything to happen between them, he gives in to his desires so easily, with seemingly no regard for the consequences for Akira. He’s a duke. He can do what he wants. She’s a poor commoner whose reputation will be forever altered by their dalliance. I never got the feeling that he was so overcome with lust or love that he couldn’t live without her. I felt like he just couldn’t control himself and didn’t give much thought to her.

I never got a good read on Akira. She was naïve and innocent and knew better than to get involved with someone like Geordie, but she fell for him hook, line and sinker. She was indignant and protected her virtue like a warrior….for a few chapters. Then all bets were off and she was letting him do whatever he wanted to her. I don’t really know what this book was about aside from the “I shouldn’t be with him, he’s a duke” and “I can’t be with her, she’s a healer” argument. Nothing really happened in the book to hold my interest.

I wanted to love this book, but Geordie and Akira’s romance wasn’t a love story I could fall in love with.

I give The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki 3 stars

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