My Rating: Beach Vacation (3/5)
The Whisky Laird’s Bed is historical romance set in Scotland featuring an opposites attract romance between a whisky distiller and a temperance woman. The course of true love does not run smoothly for these two.
Cameron MacPherson is a struggling whisky distiller. His English-born mother is hell bent on getting him married off (and to an Englishwoman no less) since the death of his elder brother. And Lady MacPherson’s solution to her son’s reluctance to marry? Taking out a personal add in a London newspaper. Unfortunately, this add ends up in the hands of the rake patrol, and leads one member to the conclusion that Cameron MacPherson is a white slaver, luring innocent young women to his home and selling them into brothels. Oh, well-meaning mothers, they really can be troublesome.
Claire Starke is a strong supporter of temperance. Her father was a drunk and she would like to rid the world of alcohol completely to prevent other women and children from suffering from the ills of alcohol abuse. When she learns that her friend, Faith, has accompanied another woman to Cameron’s home in Scotland, Claire fears the worse. Being the supportive friend that she is, Claire tears off to Scotland with the intent on saving Faith from the horrid white slaver, what she finds instead is a handsome man that unfortunately represents the very thing that she is fighting against.
What I really liked about this romance was the character of Claire. She was completely committed to the ideals of temperance, and because of that she saw the issue as one that is completely black and white. I understood Claire’s motivation for wanting to advocate for a sober society, but I really liked how she was forced to reconcile what she saw in Scotland with her own staunch beliefs. Claire came to realize that there was more to the production and consumption of alcohol than men abusing their families. It was a source of income for many and just because you had a glass doesn’t mean you’re going to fail to support your family. To Claire’s surprise, the issue is much more complicated than alcohol simply existing. Personally, I love these kinds of stories where a character is forced to change their perspective on an issue, so in that respect The Whisky Laird’s Bed was a good read for me. Claire learned that there’s more to the “devil’s drink” and this transformation was fascinating to me.
What I was less enthused about was the romance. I was expecting there to be a lot more tension between the leads. Cameron’s profession was a complete contradiction of Claire’s world outlook. What I found strange is that these two rarely discussed their opposing viewpoints. Instead it was Claire’s own experiences in town that challenged her beliefs. There was very little tension between Cameron and Claire past their initial first meeting. I was disappointed by this fact and I think more tension would have made this a stronger romance. I felt a lot of the novel hinged on the looks shared between characters and these looks seemed to convey a depth of emotion that I’m not sure that I really buy. I would have liked to have seen Claire and Cameron spend more time getting to know one another.
Ultimately, I thought this romance was just okay. The right elements were all there, I was simply left filling unfulfilled by the relationship between the hero and heroine. I would have liked a little more development of a relationship between the pair, and I think that would have went a long way in making me believe in their happily ever after.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
If you like the opposites attract trope, give Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You a try. Sara is a sheltered and innocent young woman when she comes into contact with the disreputable gambling house owner, Derek Craven. These two are complete opposites but the author makes their relationship work. It’s one of my favourite of Kleypas historical novels.
I also love Sabrina Jeffries’ A Notorious Love as an opposites attract historical. Helena’s not a fan of Daniel Brennan, he’s lied to her and she sees him as a scoundrel. But Daniel, love-struck fool that he is, can’t help but want to change her opinion. I also find Helena to be a lot like Claire, they are both set in their ways, but are able to overcome their prejudices to revise their opinion of the world.
Lastly, I’d also suggest Katherine Ashes’ My Lady, My Lord. It’s a bit quirky, but the hero and heroine absolutely despise each other. This was the kind of tension and passion I was expecting in Whisky Laird.