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Book Review: Highlander's Castle

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

There’s a certain suspension of disbelief one has to have to read and enjoy time-travel romance. Especially anything that travels more than 300 years back in time. (The reason for this is the Great Vowel Shift which changed how English was spoken – and written.) Forget accents… most modern English-speakers wouldn’t register what was being spoken as the same language.

Now, I can move past that. And heck, I like a good time-travel romance. Some of my favorite stories are time-travel based….However Highlander’s Castle by Joanne Wadsworth takes that suspension of disbelief and stretches it to the point of snapping.

First off, we’re expected to accept that Anne MacLeod just so happens to switch places with her identical ancestor/relative who just so happens to also be named Anne MacLeod. You know I get that naming conventions back in the 1500s were pretty repetitive… (Henry the Eighth and his six wives with only three names) however two women who just so happen to look exactly alike having the same name…

Then we get into the mechanics… which I will give Joanne Wadsworth her due… the Fairy Flag is a real thing. And I haven’t seen it in Romance before… not to say it hasn’t been used… just that I tend to avoid Highlander romances because… reasons… (I’ll have you know I read Outlander before it was cool!!! In 1992!!! When I was still in High School! Oh Gods, I’m old.)

And whiz-bam-boom… switcheroo and Good Ol’ Modern Day Annie is in 16th century Scotland… And about to get married… BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE IS!!!

The only thing that would make it more fantastical would be if she and her husband to be fell into instant lust and they boinked like rabbits as soon as their hands were fasted…

Wait… you mean…

There’s the obligatory no one believes our heroine is from the future… and she thankfully isn’t locked up, killed, or any other likely possibility when she confides in both her husband and her not-quite-cousin about her origins. Oh and did I mention she’s from New Zealand… because Scottish and Kiwi accents are super similar… but it only seems to raise a few eyebrows… nothing else.

But honestly suspension of disbelief aside, my biggest problem with this book was the pacing. Everything happened too fast. And I say this as someone who writes short stories and novellas for fun. The author didn’t spend enough time establishing the conflict before she had it resolved and moved on to the next conflict.

This pace left the characters feeling oddly flat and generic. The plot and conflict are there to move the characters forward and their characterization forward. Unfortunately, when you aren’t given time to get to know who the characters are or even what their voice is like, you’re left with two cardboard cutouts gleefully dancing across the Scottish countryside with no real investment in the story.

This is where I level with you all.. I’ve been trying to read this 152 page book for almost two years. Me… the person who devours books and fanfic like it’s water and I’m dying of thirst.

I finally finished it due to a power outage and sheer determination to see why Joanne Wadsworth was a NYT bestselling author.

I was not impressed.

Now on to the good…

The Book is FREE!!!! So I got what I paid for.

The spelling and grammar are on point, but honestly I expect it to be considering she’s a NYT bestselling author!

The author has done a decent amount of research. She knows her time, and the history… when included… is correct.

But in the end because of poor pacing, uninteresting characters, predictable plot, and waaaaay too many handwaves I can only give this two stars.

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