Book Review: Sutherland’s Secret by Sharon Cullen

Sometimes you get those books that are like an emotional roller coaster that completely exhaust your feels. Then sometimes you get a book that just plays quietly with your emotions and rocks you gently…not to sleep, because I’m not talking “boring,”…but just into a very pleasant state of entertaining reading. This was one of those books.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An English lady is found passed out in the middle of the road by a Scottish earl who takes her home, despite bad relations with the English, only to find she’s running in fear from someone. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Let Me Be Your Hero
Brice is definitely the traditional heroic hero…alpha when it’s called for, savior of the damsel in distress, and loved by his people. When Brice finds Eleanor, he saves her against the wishes of his men, who don’t trust the English and think that keeping her with them is going to bring trouble. But Brice isn’t going to leave her there, especially when it’s clear that she’s near death. He revives her, only to find that she has no voice, so she remains a mystery, at least at the beginning.

Save Me
If Brice is the traditional hero, Eleanor is the typical damsel in distress. Her distress levels get even higher when the person she’s running from visits Brice’s castle. Of course, in her state of distress, she doesn’t listen when she’s told to lay low, going against Brice’s wishes to sneak down and see the man who’s looking for her. Which is one of the issues I took with her character: she was scared, but not scared enough to keep her butt planted firmly behind a locked door.

Romance Nostalgia
Even though I wanted to handcuff Eleanor to a radiator, I actually liked both characters, and I liked the very traditional feel of their romance. When I say traditional, I mean this novel reminded me of the ones I started reading when I was young, minus all the “pretend it’s not rape for the sake of romance” stuff. Because Brice treated Eleanor well, and I particularly enjoyed the theme that Brice and his men (and Scottish men in general) revered their women and treated them with the utmost respect. And even though Eleanor was questionable at the beginning, I thought it was great how living in Scotland among this type of mindset kind of made her fierce. And when she went fierce (and I won’t spoil anything), it was one of my favorite scenes in the book. Seriously, it needed a mic drop.

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The Villain
A few of the scenes were told from the villain’s point of view, which I thought added a little flavor to the book but didn’t make the villain sympathetic. He was still a douche with no redeeming qualities…which is exactly how I like my romance villains.

The Romance Factor
There was a slight feel of insta-love to this story, but it wasn’t horrible, nor did it detract from the story. It was portrayed as Brice’s fascination of Eleanor and his need to keep her safe, and her looking to him as her savior and protector. There are several scenes where she’s having nightmares and of course he hears her and goes in to calm her nightmares with his hot body and strong arms (no sexy times though…all respect). And even though it’s a little cheesy, it’s that perfect cheese blend that’s still entertaining in this genre. 4/5
The Steam Factor
Though not numerous, the sex scenes were fairly steamy and descriptive enough to get a good visual of what was going on. 4/5

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Final Thoughts
Overall, this was kind of a mellow read, but there was still enough intrigue to keep it interesting and enough angst to make it romance-worthy. A perfect chill read for a relaxing  afternoon.

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