Sunday, January 17, 2010

TALL, DARK and KILTED by Allie Mackay

Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-45122551-1
Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via library

Nursing a broken heart and the loss of what was a booming business Cilla Swanner makes tracks for Scotland and her favorite aunt and uncle’s home, Dunroamin Castle. A dedicated Scotophile, or at least she was until her former beau, a Scottish descendant, broke her heart, Scotland still holds a special place in her heart. While her Aunt Birdie believes in things beyond our normal world, her Uncle Mac is firmly grounded in the here and now. He wants nothing to do with ghosts and mysterious happenings.

On the heels of insulting a bard who also happens to be a powerful wizard, Sir Hardwick de Studley of Seagrave is doomed to spend eternity pleasuring a different woman each night. What’s wrong with that you may ask? For the women, nothing, for Hardwick, plenty. He can never find his own pleasure. In desperation he seeks out the Dark One and begs to be released from the long ago spell. The Dark One agrees but not without his own twist. Hardwick must live a year and a day without becoming aroused. Thinking this to be an easy feat Hardwick chooses to spend that year and a day at a residential care facility. After all, how could a group of elderly women rouse him? Little did he suspect Cilla would be arriving, throwing his well planned year and a day to the winds.

Despite doing his best to avoid her, Hardwick soon finds himself embroiled in Cilla and her relatives’ problems including ghostly Viking raiders carousing their peat bogs night after night. Can hard work and determination keep Hardwick from rising to Cilla’s occasion?

The premise of Allie MacKay’s TALL, DARK and KILTED was interesting. A woman who has basically sworn off Scotsmen, a ghostly Highland warrior who has sworn off women and a mystery of ghostly mauraders. I had a hard time getting into the story and often found myself pondering a question popular with authors, are you a plotter or a pantser? (In essence, a plotter being a writer who plans and outlines each aspect of her book where as a pantser writes the story that wants to be told no matter where it goes.) I had the feeling on and off that TALL, DARK and KILTED was written in the pantser mode and that the characters took over in no short order and that the author never really got control of them. While Hardwick is described as a hunky hero, I was never able to shake an image I got early on of him using his shield to hide his arousal. Instead his image was more of a comedic, almost effeminate prancing about such as one of Shakespeare’s secondary characters might do. My image of a residential care facility didn't match with Dunroamin’s set up where a series of, often amusing, elderly residents simply live. A senior retirement home would have been a better title for Dunroamin than a care facility. I didn't feel much emotion from the characters and once again the heroine decides she is in love with the hero before she really knows him.

I enjoyed the interspersing of Scottish in the dialogue and how Ms. MacKay educates her readers on what each word means. She definitely left me wondering if I could find some peat and see if it truly smells as wonderful as the book describes. Mention is made of the fun characters from the prior books in this series but with the exception of Wee Hughie MacSporran none make an appearance. I missed Alex.

If you enjoy fantasy and suspending belief this is a good choice.


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