Title: Best Laid Plaids (Kilty Pleasures #1)
Author: Ella Stainton
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Publication Date: August 31, 2020
Genre: Historical, MM Romance
Rating: 2 Stars
In 1920s Scotland, even ghosts wear plaid.
Welcome to a sexy, spooky new paranormal historical series from debut author Ella Stainton.
Dr. Ainsley Graham is cultivating a reputation as an eccentric.
Two years ago, he catastrophically ended his academic career by publicly claiming to talk to ghosts. When Joachim Cockburn, a WWI veteran studying the power of delusional thinking, arrives at his door, Ainsley quickly catalogues him as yet another tiresome Englishman determined to mock his life’s work.
But Joachim is tenacious and openhearted, and Ainsley’s intrigued despite himself. He agrees to motor his handsome new friend around to Scotland’s most unmistakable hauntings. If he can convince Joachim, Ainsley might be able to win back his good name and then some. He knows he’s not crazy—he just needs someone else to know it, too.
Joachim is one thesis away from realizing his dream of becoming a psychology professor, and he’s not going to let anyone stop him, not even an enchanting ginger with a penchant for tartan and lewd jokes. But as the two travel across Scotland’s lovely—and definitely, definitely haunted—landscape, Joachim’s resolve starts to melt. And he’s beginning to think that an empty teaching post without the charming Dr. Graham would make a very poor consolation prize indeed…
♦ Personal Thought ♦
I’m a sucker for anything Scottish – which was the reason I picked this book. The title, the setting, the blurb. Alas, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
The writing didn’t particularly click with me; it was told in alternate POVs and both seemed undecided what to call the other – or even themselves for that matter – it kept changing from first name to surname every few lines. Also, the chemistry between Ainsley and Joachim felt pretty tepid and unconvincing. From the first time Ainsley took charge as somewhat predatory (sexually) in a forceful way while Joachim – a strapping but wounded war vet scholar – his butt of the joke, so to speak.
Hopeful as I was (while struggling) I had hope for the sort of gradual enemies-to-lovers, opposites attract dynamics between the two. Again, I was disappointed as Ainsley and Joachim started the carnal gymnastics straight away… just because. No phase whatsoever. Oh yeah, the heat-o-meter is quite steamy – if that’s what (readers) look for. But story-wise it felt very disjointed which made their joyful happy-ending unconvincing and far-fetched.
The only good part for me was the supernatural element in there, some of them were quite friendly ghosts – at least not frightening – and happened to be close relatives of our MC. Too bad it wasn’t given due probes and felt mostly told as an aside (even the backstory of these ghosts wasn’t too obvious).
Overall this installment didn’t give me confidence to pursue the series further. We shall see, shall we. I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.
Copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.