It has been a while since I last read a contemporary British romance that wasn’t a Mills and Boon or Historical romance. I occasionally enjoy chick lit and I really do love reading Harriet Evans novels so this was an easy loan when I saw it on the library shelves and it easily fits in with this month’s TBR challenge of something different. But first, the blurb:
Sealed with a Kiss
by Rachael Lucas
Bingo Squares: Epic disaster wardrobe tragedy or train travel
Kate is dumped on her best friend’s wedding day by the world’s most boring boyfriend, Ian. She’s mostly cross because he got in first – until she remembers she’s now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she’s got a lot to prove.
Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy’s keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate’s budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning – and can she be stopped before it’s too late?
Heroine Kate’s boring boyfriend of 5 years breaks up with her on the dancefloor at her bestfriend’s wedding (seriously! who does that!)
Kate is messy and she can’t hold down a job and (of course) has mum issues. So she applies for a job and finds herself moving an isolated Scottish island to take on a Girl Friday job with the laird of the island.
The laird, Roderick of Auchenmor island (or something right silly like that – probs some modern day duke/earl/sillybuggers) who is Kate’s boss has a tragic backstory, a waspish mean ex-girlfriend and is (rightfully) skittish about approaching Kate in a romantic way because he is the bossman. The two have a snog at a party and then he suddenly leaves the island. Not knowing where they were heading Kate gets lucky and sleeps with Finn the island hottie. When Roderick finds them together he backs off and then Kate is all regret because it is Roddy she likes. Of course the two bond over their love for the island seals, Kate realises that she had been itinerant all her life because she really belonged on the island not the mainland, her relationship with her mum mends and Kate of Essex lands “Roddy of Posh” and all is well (except for the prospective abject poverty of living in a remote Scottish castle).
I really enjoyed this fun book with its gorgeous characters, fab Scottish turn of phrase, drinking, dancing (oh swooooon dancing) and oooohhhhh! the setting. I absolutely adore English – and Scottish – countryside description in a romance. I spent a week in driving around the moors and isles of Scotland in 1996 and though I would prefer to pop my eyeballs out with a spoon than live in any isolated community, oh I do love reading the romance of a sea/tree/Scottish isle change. The book was all Monarch of the Glen (first 3 seasons only!) and Roderick a dead ringer for Archie MacDonald.
This book seemed to mix the best of chicklit with elements of romance. I liked that the book was in the third point of view (I really dislike first POV chicklit) but I really wanted Roddy’s POV too. This is the norm in romance fiction and I felt disappointed that we never got to understand his thoughts and emotions as well as we did with Kate. This ended up being the only real drawback for me.
I also liked the genuine contemporary feel of the book. Unlike so many angsty romances (don’t get me wrong here – I love angst and melodrama but occasionally I need something different). I did love the relaxed attitude to Kate sleeping with Finn. In a traditional romance there would have been slut shaming, manly men feeling the need to be all manly and general angst about nothing. In this book, as one of the older female friends says “You’re a young girl – you’re entitled to a wee bit of fun now and again” and that was it. Sure, there were initial awkward scenes and overall it ended up being the reason that Roddy held off approaching Kate 1. He’s her boss and 2. He thought she was with Finn. (And ultimately it is Kate that takes charge and goes after him).
The other thing is, as real as the story felt, it lacked strong, emotional punch. It didn’t make me cry, laugh out loud, feel tense, aroused or scared. It sadly lacked the big feels however it was a satisfying, fun read.
I borrowed a copy of this book from a public library in New South Wales.