Rameau’s Review Archive: Heart of the Druid Laird by Barbara Longley

Rameau’s ramblings: Originally posted on Goodreads on November 17th 2011.

Cursed with immortality, Dermot MacKay craves death. To lift the faerie curse placed upon him and his men over 1,600 years ago, he must return the soul of his reincarnated wife to the exact place and time of her murder. But her soul is currently residing in the very modern Sidney St. George–and first he has to convince her to accompany him to Scotland.

Sidney doesn’t believe Dermot’s wild claims of immortality and rebirth, yet she cannot deny that she is drawn to the sexy Scot. Nor can she explain the sense of deja vu his touch elicits. Desperate for answers, she agrees to go with him–only to learn too late that to help the man she loves is to lose him forever…

Heart of the Druid LairdHeart of the Druid Laird by Barbara Longley

Critique should always have both good and bad points. I’ll try.

The premise looked so promising. Although, I’m not a fan of fairies in general I thought this just might be the book to change my mind, and in that Heart of the Druid Laird succeeded. The fairies were easily the best part of this book.

See, it’s working. Good news comes first and there’s more.

I also really liked the structure of the plot. The author obviously knows how to plan events ahead while to give herself some room for manoeuvring. All the plot twists were well set up and logical and the pacing was decent. There were no out of the blue surprises behind the corners, but there was that telltale glow that warns about a speeding car.

And I really enjoyed Tommy and Zoe and their little side romance. They made the perfect addition so as not to burden the main couple with too much of the background reveal. Info dump nicely avoided and a golden star to the author.

Unfortunately, this was it. Now on to the bad.

Let’s start with the ridiculous. For a while now I’ve been aware of the fact that historical fiction is just that, fiction. As much as I’d like to think all men of old were nearly two metres tall and build like muscle towers, I know they weren’t. Their nutritional status wouldn’t have allowed it. I can suspend belief for one or three exceptionally well-built historical heroes at the time and enjoy the fluffy romance while they swoop their tiny, fragile heroines of their feet. But there’s a limit to this good will of mine, and that limit is five. I find five 1650-year-old, extra tall hunks walking down the street in formation ridiculous. When the number is upped to thirteen, it becomes absurd.

Shall we move on to the language then? Longley didn’t overdo the Scottish accent apart from a handful of lines in dialogue, but the little touches she chose to use to imply the accent didn’t work well for me. I stumbled over every single no’ (not) even when I managed to get through the lines of heavier brogue.

This, however, was not my pet peeve. That honour falls on the cursing with all the effings and soddings and such. For majority of the book everyone acts like their mother is eavesdropping just behind the corner ready to rap them on the knuckles for saying a rude word. Then when things get tense and the climax approaches they suddenly start dropping asses, arses, and shits. A few pages later, after the threat has been resolved, they go back to being prissy. Continuity, this book has none.

None of these little mishaps are as dire failure as is the utterly bollocksed characterisation. I’m at a loss what to make of these characters. They continuously say and claim to think one thing, and then go on acting in the exact opposite manner. Dermot is supposed to get Sidney to Scotland to lift the curse and not get tangled up and hurt the girl’s feelings, but he promptly starts wooing her. Later on, he blames her for distracting him before he could tell her the truth, which, might I add, would have simplified the plot substantially. She’s supposed to be this hard boiled single woman who doesn’t date or even look at a man twice, but she melts into a puddle of goo just from looking at him. You can imagine the level of sexual attraction when he starts to speak.

Yeah, not so much. Didn’t work for me. Sidney’s crying fits and whiplash reactions to the truth (once finally shared with her) make her the first character to earn a place on my new vapid-insipid-divas-and-ingénues shelf. Until her, I hadn’t felt tempted enough to make one.

The bad characterisation extends to Zoe and David, Sidney’s friend, and brother, who basically act like a deus ex machina to get the unhappy couple together. Aside from Tommy, the muscle gang doesn’t win in the personality lotto. Lachlan gets closest with few hits.

What really ends up killing this book for me, though, is the manufactured drama. With a set up like this, a reincarnation, a cursed immortality, and a choice between loving and letting go, there’s no need for all the fights originated from miscommunication. Dermot and Sidney have enough on their plate with a fairy princess and their growing feelings for each other interfering with the lifting of the curse, so they don’t really need to be getting their wires crossed too.

A good critique should always end up on a positive note.

I can’t complain about the grammar or editing.

You can also read this review on Sandra’s My Reading Nook-blog.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

This entry was posted in a total failure, book review, historical, paranormal, rameau, read in 2011, romance and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Rameau’s Review Archive: Heart of the Druid Laird by Barbara Longley

  1. Thank you for the warning, I will steer clear of that one.As much as I'd like to think all men of old were nearly two metres tall and build like muscle towers, I know they weren't. Their nutritional status wouldn't have allowed it.Once upon a time I admired at close quarters a suit of armour fitted for a 17th century gent. I am not an especially big woman but the armour was shorter by a head than me. Mind you we speak here about a bespoke ,Sunday-best piece which belonged to an aristocrat, with gilt, arabesque and the whole shebang. He was certainly better fed than the rest of the peasants; still he barely reached a centimeter or so above 1.50 meters. Every hist fic or hist rom author should know that much.

  2. Blodeuedd says:

    Oh sod this book. I always say sod you know…not

  3. rameau says:

    Most times I'm willing to suspend disbelief and go along with the fantasy for the length of the book, but sometimes it's too absurd even for me.And yes, yet it has. *nods*

  4. rameau says:

    Sod off? ≈]

  5. Just 'sod it' is enough. Or 'bugger it'.

  6. Aurian says:

    Question: is there anything related to him being a druid in the book? Or is it just the title to draw you in?

  7. rameau says:

    It's been a while, but no, not that I can remember. There was the curse that kept him alive but it felt more like a plot device than an integral part of the story.

Comments are closed.