To Scotland with Love by Karen Hawkins
Venetia Oglivie comes from a family of over-actors yet has managed to retain her position as the reasonable one; until she runs away with the young Blake Ravenscroft. He lured her away under the guise of visiting her sick mother when in fact her plans to elope to Gretna Green and head immediately for the continent in order to avoid a duel. She discovers her deception through Gregor MacLean, who has been her friend- and only her friend- for 29 years. They're such good friends that apparently neither of them has ever looked at the other sexually even though they eventually reaize that they're each other's ideal types. When Gregor finds out she's been kidnapped he races off to save her. And... apparently an old family curse has left the remaining members of his family with the ability to control the weather through their moods and Gregor's foul mood has caused quite the nasty snow storm
Venetia and her kidnapper overturn and seek shelter at an inn where Gregor finds them and confronts Ravenscrof with what's happened. Venetia is upset but because of the storm they're stranded for days. Gregor and Venetia suddently find themselves desperately attracted to each other but both fight it off resolutely. They are convinced they can wait everything out until a fight between them leads to another snow storm and two more days of being stranded which assures that Venetia will never make it back to town before Venetia's reputation is ruined. His proposal is bungled and a crazy cast of side chacters create an expectedly crazy side plots including an overbearing blind matron, a spoiled 17 year old who falls in love with every man, and a timid yet incredibly rude companion. When everyone can finally leave our two protagonists leave with heavy hearts until a very large reunion featuring almost every family member and every side character and then some leads to a real proposal which results in much different results from the first.
I felt like this book started in the middle. It was great to see two fast friends, people who had a solid foundation and respect for each other, develop a tendre for each other. However, I realized while reading this that one of my favorite parts of romance novels is reading about the characters meeting and getting to know each other. And like I said: here we started in the middle and skipped all that part. I presume I was supposed to feel like they were getting to know a whole new side, a much more intimate side, of each other, but... the big introductions were missing and it made the romance novel lack. It also just seemed so out of sorts that Gregor had never before noticed her body- just because he was her friend does not mean he didn't notice her physical attributes especially when they're so plentiful and just up his alley. The same goes vice versa as well with her not noticing his rugged manly good looks which even her mother noticed.
Our lovable cast of side characters include Ms. Flatt the put upone companion who still manages to belittle everyone around and believes Ravenscroft is in love with her. And Elizabeth Higginbotham the beautiful 17 year old ninny in love with a vicar or a farmer whose father is rushing her away from a bad match. They provide the backround for a great scene between Gregor and Venetia over her need to fix everyone's lives and his seeming inability to care about other people. It isn't resolved very well, but it was the best scene we really had between the two. I believe that's an unfortunate circumstance as it lasts 3 pages and occurs 20 pages from the end. More like it should have been spread throughout. There also should have been quite a bit more steamy scenes especially considering how much these two enjoyed staring at each other's physical attributes.
Rating: Half a romance novel with unmemorable characters. Still it was fun and fast and hopefully the equels featuring his brother are more palatable. I want to give it 2 1/2 stars so I'll just let the lacking sex scenes drag it down.