Title: A Scot’s Surrender
Series: The Townsends: Book Three
Author: Lily Maxton
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Length: 242 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars
At a Glance: A Scot’s Surrender is a sweet and tender bit of escapism, low on the conflict and high on some of my favorite romantic tropes.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When his brother leaves him in charge of Llynmore Castle, Robert Townsend is determined to make everything go smoothly. What does it matter if he’s inexplicably drawn to Ian Cameron, the estate’s stoic steward? Robert is sure he can ignore the way the Highlander’s apparent dislike of him gets under his skin. They’ll muddle along just fine so long as they avoid one another. An excellent plan…until a fire forces Ian into the castle—and Robert’s personal space.
Ian Cameron has worked for everything he owns, unlike spoiled Robert Townsend. And he may not have friends, but he has the Highlands and the stars, and what more could he really need? But when a guest’s stolen possession appears in his room, he doesn’t have much choice but to admit to the handsome and aggravatingly charming Townsend brother that he needs help. To solve this mystery, they’ll have to put aside their differences. And as Ian learns more about Robert, he’ll have to guard his heart…or it may be the next thing stolen.
Review: Lily Maxton’s A Scot’s Surrender is a straightforward, classic Historical romance, but I don’t mean that in an unflattering way, as in there’s nothing particularly enjoyable about it. Yes, I could see the ending a mile away; yes, it’s chock-full of some of my favorite tropes; and yes, it was an absolute comfort read thanks to that and the author drawing me into seeing these characters through their romantic journey.
The forced proximity trope is used on a couple of fronts in the story: the first is Ian Cameron’s need to move into Llynmore Castle after an unexpected catastrophe befalls him, which puts Ian, who’s employed as the Townsend’s factor, in daily contact with Robert Townsend. Robert, the “spare” Townsend by virtue of being the younger male heir, has been left in charge of the estate while his brother Theo is away, which creates no small amount of internal conflict for him, as well as some external conflict thanks to Ian’s utterly biased—and, as it turns out, baseless—opinion of Robert, which also feeds into the opposites attract trope and the built-in complications of not only being in opposing social standings but being attracted to each other in a rigorously heterosexual society.
The additional forced proximity comes at the hands of a family of travelers who are waylaid by a storm and arrive on the castle doorstep seeking shelter from the flooding rains. Robert, wishing to paint the family in its most favorable light, and thus do his best by Theo, invites the strangers to stay as long as necessary. They do not hesitate to abuse the spirit of the invitation and, frankly, make nuisances of themselves in the process. It’s when some of their personal possessions go missing that Ian and Robert, along with Robert’s sister Georgina, whom I adored as her brother’s most loyal ally, are coerced into working together to solve the crimes. I would not at all go so far as to call this a mystery, though, since the perpetrator of said crimes is glaringly evident from the moment they appear on-page. It’s more a caper used as a vehicle to force the proximity between the two men and allow a plausible excuse for them to spend time getting to know each other better.
Ian’s backstory is, by far, the more touching, and gives some credence to his overall bitterness, default tendency to mistrust people, and to why he dismisses Robert out of hand as a spoiled, pampered idler, an opinion that is slowly dispelled, of course, the more time they spend together. Ian is surly and at times unkind to Robert, but it’s Robert’s charm and his ability to hide his own deep-seated insecurities behind a sometimes forced cheerfulness and teasing wit that slowly creeps beneath and behind Ian’s defenses. Maxton writes some truly lovely moments of quiet reflection and shared intimacies between them that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with sharing their individual passions, the things they love that they don’t offer easily but discover a bond in the sharing of nonetheless.
While A Scot’s Surrender is the third book in the Townsend series, it is a standalone. I did, however, have moments where I wondered if I would’ve gleaned more from Robert’s backstory if I’d read the previous books—seeing the reasons for his insecurities in action rather than being told about them—but that said, I still liked watching him and Ian grow closer.
My conclusion is that A Scot’s Surrender is a sweet and tender bit of escapism. There was also a particularly relatable moment for me towards the end as well, a moment between Robert and Theo which illuminates how one can be certain of a family’s unconditional love and yet still find it terrifying to confess one’s deepest secrets. Anyone who has loved someone through the coming out process will relate, and that touched my heart in an admittedly personal way.
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