Scottish highlander romance novels are something that I’ve discovered fairly recently in my reading, I’ve only been picking them out for the last 12 months or so. I find them to be interesting reads, and something completely removed from the regency that I would normally choose to read. A Laird For All Time is something that I came across on Amazon’s book charts and it looked like something I might enjoy.
Emmy MacKenzie has just finished a decade of training to be a doctor and decides to go on holiday before she starts her new job. She tours around England, on her own, and spends her last few days in the Scottish Highlands. She travels to the ancient castle of Duart for the day and finds herself transported back to the time of the castle’s laird and restorer, someone she’d just be reading about in her guidebook. The laird, Connor MacLean, mistakes Emmy for his bride, the one who ran away on their wedding night and hasn’t been seen in the decade since. He doesn’t understand why she would choose to reappear on their tenth wedding anniversary, only to deny her identity. He also can’t comprehend why she is so different from the woman he knew all those years ago. Until she figures out how she can get home, Emmy decides to play the part of his wife so that she has somewhere to stay, and ends up discovering that there might be something worth staying for, if only Connor can let go of the pain his wife caused him and see Emmy for who she really is.
Connor and Emmy were both great protagonists for the story. Emmy was strong and independent, but there was an underlying sadness about her that was tangible on the pages. This sadness seemed to stem from her loneliness – she was travelling alone, after having spent nearly a decade of her life focusing on studies rather than her social life. This sadness gave her something in common with Connor and made for a strong basis for their connection. Her struggles between her two time zones were shown to exist in terms of her relationship with Connor, but I thought that more of a struggle with the amenities of the time might have made her time-jumping feel a bit more real for the reader.
Connor, as a leading man in the story, was everything you’d expect from a romance novel hero; strong, defiant, stubborn and undoubtedly vulnerable. His relationship with Emmy was, at the start, based on the fact that he thought she had run out on him 10 years ago. That pain, stemming from male pride, was the centre of everything that Connor had become and how he behaved. Watching him struggle to let that way of life go for something better was a great part of the plot. I found his understanding of the truth to be a little unplausible, he barely reacted to what he was being told, which most people would not do. Other than that, he was a character that I’d enjoy reading again.
The plot itself was fairly well written and I was pleasantly surprised by a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. I’m one of those people that likes to guess at where a story is going as I’m reading so it’s always nice to come across an element of the plot that I hadn’t accounted for – it piques my interest and wills me to carry on reading. I was initially worried about whether or not I would be open to the time travelling involved in the plot, but as I read through I found that it didn’t have a negative effect on the story and was actually very well handled in the context of the rest of the story; it wasn’t overplayed and didn’t become the main focus of the story.
All in all, this was a nice easy read of decent length with strong characters and a good plot.