Book Review – Suffering the Scot by Nichole Van

SUMMARY

Lady Jane Everard cannot abide the new Earl of Hadley. The unmannered Scot is a menace to genteel ladies everywhere, what with his booming laugh and swishing kilt and endless supply of ‘ochs’ and ‘ayes.’ Jane wishes Lord Hadley would behave as an earl should and adhere to English rules of polite conduct.

Andrew Langston, the new Earl of Hadley, knows that the English aristocracy think poorly of his lowly Scottish upbringing. This is hardly new. History is littered with the English assuming the worst about Scotland. By living up to their lowest expectations, he is simply fulfilling his civic duty as a Scotsman.

Jane sees Andrew as an unmannered eejit. Andrew considers Jane to be a haughty English lady. But, as the saying goes, . . . opposites attract.

And what if beneath his boisterous behavior and her chilly reserve, Andrew and Jane are not nearly as different as they suppose? Can Scotland and England reach a harmonious union at last?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve always been a fan of author Nichole Van, reading her books as soon as they are released. But I really think that Suffering the Scot is her best one yet. It is certainly going on my list of favorite reads this year. What an absolute delight this story is which perfectly blends history, romance, mystery and humor. Lest you think this is just some entertaining fluff, it also manages to slip some fairly deep wisdom in as well.

Could anyone ever ask for more than that from a fellow human being? To understand and be understood in return? It was a gift without price.

I absolutely adored the interactions between Jane and Andrew. From their first meeting where they strike sparks as adversaries to their last when they finally understand and value each other, their journey is so much fun to witness. Their barbed quips, witty rejoinders and eventual meeting of the minds proves that these two are well-matched, despite their differences.

A woman was in dire straits indeed if she found a man’s kneecaps fetching.

Though my life is nothing as restrictive as Jane’s I could certainly relate to her efforts to repress what she believes is her wild nature. The constant reminder to behave like a lady is one which I am familiar with, although without the accompanying familial guilt and expectations. The fact that her very appearance betrays her inner nature (at least to Andrew) makes her task even more difficult. I love how she eventually learns to embrace and appreciate her true self. Jane may be feisty by nature, but she is also loyal, smart and loving. It’s such a joy to watch her fight back against the strictures placed on her by those who don’t have her best interests at heart.

Jane snorted. Unladylike and undignified, but ten minutes in Lord Hadley’s company and pieces of that wild girl were set loose. It was as if his feral nature called to hers, forcing it out of hiding. Like wild animals seeking their own kind.

And Andrew. His playful nature, his honesty with himself and others, his ability to see below the surface, his humility and willingness to forgive is not only captivating, but rare in a fictional hero. Some women may prefer those brooding, Mr. Darcy types, but give me a man with a sense of humor, who doesn’t take himself too seriously any day.

The brief bits of history about the tension between England and Scotland and the prejudices that arose from that added great interest to the story. In the past the author has written several novels set in England. But this is her first with any significant mention of Scotland. And although she doesn’t delve too deeply into that contentious relationship, I think she fairly represents both sides. It’s clear that her time currently living in Scotland has given Nichole Van a real appreciation for the culture and national identity.

Scotland. Living up to England’s lowest expectations since 1296.

Suffering the Scot is the first of a new series by Van. And if my experience is any indication, I expect each new title will continue to live up to the storytelling skills I’ve come to appreciate from this author.

Related: Other Nichole Van book reviews Love’s ShadowSeeing Miss Heartstone

 

 

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