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REVIEW: Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Dear Ms. Banks:

I read this book on recommendation from a friend of mine whose description of it brought me back to my early days of reading romances when Julie Garwood and Amanda Quick were my staples. I gulped the book down in one evening. It’s totally sudsy fun. These are not historically accurate masterpieces but they are romantic even while being transparently emotionally manipulative. The story works  well because the reader wants both characters to achieve their reward.

Never Seduce a Scot Maya BanksGraeme Montgomery and Tavis Armstrong are the chiefs of rival clans. They’ve been feuding for generations and the animosity is still thick with Tavis’ father having killed Graeme’s. The King of Scotland, however, desires for these two powerful clans to enter into a truce. He’s got worries enough from the border and the English and therefore decreed that Tavis’ daughter, Eveline, shall marry Graeme.

While they both protest this mandate, they agree to carry out the king’s dictates. Tavis and his family is distraught because they view Eveline as their heart and believe that she is likely to be mistreated by the Montgomery clan. Eveline hasn’t been able to hear for three years nor has she spoken leading her family to believe that she is daft.

Eveline was betrothed to Ian McHugh, the son of a clan chief with whom Tavis wanted an alliance. Ian would present a false face to the rest of the world, but to Eveline he promised cruelty and unspeakable degradation. Fearing this, Eveline ran away on her horse which threw her. She lay in a ravine for three days and when she was finally found, she was insensible. After a month or so of fever, Eveline recovered but she was too fearful to tell her family what happened and when Ian cried off, she thought remaining mute and not revealing her deafness would save her. It did but it also led her family and her clan to make up erroneous conclusions about her.

Graeme resigns himself to this marriage, knowing that his lineage will not be carried on. There was no way he would force himself on a woman without her full consent and he believes that Eveline, the daft, would not be able to consent. Plus, the idea of marrying a hated enemy is anathema to him and his family.

When Graeme arrives, his deep baritone is felt by Eveline. Low voices, rumbly voices, emit a vibration that Eveline can almost hear. She views her marriage to Graeme as a second chance.  It is her willingness to marry Graeme that begins the changes in him and in the blood feud.   Throughout the book, Eveline is treated terribly from nearly all but Graeme and Graeme’s sister. This provides the pathos and the conflict in the book which is good because Graeme is the sweetest guy ever and their romance has little conflict.  There is actually no sustained conflict as each barrier is easily overcome.

Eveline is put through the ringer. Not only was she potentially prey to a sadist but she was injured and became deaf.  She is afraid to talk because she can’t hear herself speak, can’t modulate the tone of her voice.  While she taught herself to lip read, that’s a boon and a curse.  She can read all the insults that are being said about her.  She’s willing to work hard to be the chief’s wife, but allows herself to be taken advantage of.  For me, each heaping spoonful of abuse was offset by Graeme’s sweetness.  (Graeme is such an honorable guy that he decides that he will likely be celibate during his marriage, not wanting to dishonor his wife by bedding other women in the clan).  It’s not a formula that will work for every one.

I thought the deafness was well done.  Because Eveline can’t hear, she isn’t aware of what goes on around her and she can’t give off the appropriate emotional cues.  This is, in large part, what leads people to think she is “defective.”  She can’t always read the lips of people and must be directly in front of them.  In one scene, she had a candle held up to the lips of the speaker because it was too dark to read the lips. When her sister in law declares she wants to read and write, Eveline realizes that learning this skill would open the world up for her in terms of communication. However, Eveline’s easy adoption of speech again was disappointing.

As I said in the opening, this book is sudsy fun but lack of historical accuracy, the over the top abuse suffered by Eveline, and the easy resolution of seemingly every conflict may be offputting for some readers. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

4 Comments

  1. Amy
    Dec 07, 2012 @ 10:56:51

    It was also a “C” read for me. Still scratching my head on what the title has to do with plot because it implies that there is some danger or dire consequence if a Scot is seduced. And Graeme was one of the kindest medieval hero’s I’ve ever encountered.

    What really distracted me, though, was how adept she was at reading lips with seemingly 100% accuracy. Lip reading is difficult yet she picked up on every nuance of every conversation. Just go to a Bad Lip Reading website and you can see how easy it is to interpret the same lip movement in wildly different ways.

  2. Ridley
    Dec 07, 2012 @ 14:06:05

    I am sick to death of the “rescue the cripple” theme. It’s like the non-disabled think the biggest aspiration a disabled person has is to be “saved” by the able-bodied. Adding in that her deafness seems to be her punishment for rash behavior, and the book sounds like Catherine Anderson-level bad where disability is concerned.

  3. Jen
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 19:26:07

    I LOVED this book. I like sweet heroes–there are enough alpholes in other stories! I didn’t feel like Eveline needed “saving” because of deafness either. In fact, I thought the role of her disability in the story was actually to highlight how strong and smart she was–she devised her own plan to get out of an unwanted marriage and then taught herself to read lips. It provides the initial drama in the book because no one knows she can hear, but it comes out pretty soon that she’s not actually deaf. From then on, the conflict was not related to her deafness. She does need saving, but I felt like that was more a “damsel in distress” thing. If that bothers you, you won’t like this book, but I didn’t feel like it was related to her lack of hearing. Eveline was not a weakling, and in fact she has a very heroic moment herself when she saves Graeme’s life. This book is a bit fluffy but I thought the characters were great, and I personally enjoy a story with a lady who needs rescuing but who isn’t a total bimbo.

  4. Kit Whan
    Jun 14, 2013 @ 12:53:23

    Even though this book came out in 2012, it felt like I had read the same book sometime in the 80’s or 9o’s. I actually looked up to see if this author had gone by another name and just was re-releasing older books.

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