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Reviewed by Bethany Kelly

Hard-Hearted Highlander, book three in the Highland Grooms series by Julia London, revolves around Rabbie Mackenzie, a Scot who has hardened his heart because of a lost love.

Bernadette lost everything – including her reputation – when she fell in love with the wrong man and ran away with him to be wed. After being found by her father and having her marriage annulled (among other things that broke her spirit), she is now a governess to Avaline, a young and naive Englishwoman who has been promised to a Scotsman. However, when Bernadette meets this Scotsman and determines that he is no match for her charge, she is determined to do everything that she can to find a way for Avaline to get out of it–even though she finds herself daydreaming about the Scot in her spare time.

Rabbie has closed himself off to the possibility of love and passion ever since he lost his true love in the war, and when he is forced to marry an Englishwoman to help his clan his attitude doesn’t change any. Especially when the Englishwoman is barely old enough to be out of the care of a governess, and has no backbone to boot. However, when Rabbie meets Bernadette, his fiancé’s governess-turned-lady’s maid, something happens. Is it a spark he feels between them?

I was very excited to read this novel from the moment I got it. I have read others by Julia London and loved them all, and this one was no different.

London is a wonderful storyteller, and she has a talent for coming up with well-rounded and well thought out characters. Rabbie is ornery and sometimes frustrating, but he also has a very in-depth background that makes him into the man he is. Once Bernadette (who is also a very feisty and intriguing character) begins to peel back his layers, we find out that Rabbie is a very sweet man, who isn’t as rude as he seems. Not quite as romantic as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, but a little reminiscent maybe. I was also surprised at how well I liked Avaline once she started to step out of her comfort zone a bit.

I also liked the way that everything worked out in the end, but with a bit of a twist. I’m ever the sucker for the “happily ever after,” and as always, this romance novel has one.

If you are looking for a good historical romance novel that fits well with the time period and that has great backgrounds for the characters, this is definitely for you.    

Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HQN Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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