Thursday, October 13, 2016

Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks | Book Review

First Published: 2012
Adult, Historical 
Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but considered "touched" to outsiders. Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn't speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Eveline taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft, content to stay with her family. But when an arranged marriage with a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, she accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful she can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled he awakens her deepest passions.
Graeme is intrigued by his new bride, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation, whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.
Writing this review makes me want to re-read this novel RIGHT NOW. 

I've told you guys this before - while I have reached a point of strongly disliking all of Banks contemporary novels (minus perhaps that one KBI novel), I have yet to find one of her historicals lacking. And Never Seduce a Scot is one of her best works to date.

When I read this for the first time in 2012, and the second time a year later, I had no point of comparison with Banks's "bad books" (which, by the way, are hugely popular. I seem to be the one defective on that front). Looking at it now, I am more impressed with this novel than ever. Especially as I see in my original review words such as "outstanding--as always", when that's no longer the case.

I don't know what it is about historicals, but they bring the best in Banks. They make her beautifully paint the world and setting these characters are in, they make her convince us this couple is perfect for one another, they make her detail the whens and hows and whys of their love by showing us the process.

This book. THIS BOOK, you guys. It made me cry just by having a heroine that is so relatable and adorable that her hurts and insecurities make it impossible not to feel for her. Banks makes it near impossible to separate Eveline from myself.

Eveline simply made me happy. Her mannerism and the way she treated love interest and fellow MC Graeme got me grinning like mad. She is just the sweetest, kindest of souls, but she isn't weak or meek. Au contraire - her disability showed the vast inner strength of this character because of all she had to overcome and the way she never gave up. I loved reading of a disabled character, but I doubly loved reading about this disabled character.

Banks does this character justice by fitting the POV to her disability when we were looking through her eyes, even though the book is written in third person. We never knew what the people around Eveline said unless she knew. It was such a nice and meaningful touch to the whole package.

As for her partner in life, Graeme is the kind of historical highlander that makes me think it won't be all that bad to live in the middle ages and have one of my own. He is a warrior to his bones, but also a caretaker at heart. And the way he treats Eveline, even though she has been forced on him and he has no knowledge of her disability is just heartwarming - this is how man should treat women, even nowadays (ahemTrumpahem). Not to mention it was very hard to hold a smile back when he was overwhelmed by his lady love... either because of her cuteness, or her strength.

These two together is magic. I've always loved the trope of marriage-before-love, because there is something so compelling about the idea of fate conspiring to bring two people together because they are simply destined for one another. And Never Seduce a Scot does this trope down to perfection, with how they are around each other, how they support each other, and how they grow to love each other.

Around these dashing leads we get a glimpse of the rest of the Montgomerys and Armstrongs, who'll all have their own story eventually (if the publishing business gets its shit together). All of them sound promising and make one excited for future ventures, which is great in a series of standalones like this.

I highly recommend giving Banks's historicals a shot, even if you're like me and don't like her contemporaries!

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