Sunday, September 11, 2016

Mad for the Plaid

Mad for the Plaid (The Oxenburg Princes #3)- Karen Hawkins
Pocket Books
Release Date: August 30, 2016

Rating (out of 5):

Synopsis:Nikolai Romanovin, a royal prince of Oxenburg, has travelled to the deepest wilds of Scotland to rescue his grandmother the Grand Duchess, who was abducted while visiting an old friend in the Highlands. Wanting to avoid an international incident, Nik plans to quietly slip into enemy territory disguised as a groom at Castle Cromartie. But his plans go awry when he falls under the cool gray gaze of the laird’s daughter.

Pragmatic and clever, Ailsa Mackenzie has been left in charge of the family estate and her unruly grandmother in her father’s absence. Something about the new groom catches her eyes, and makes her think he’s not who he pretends to be—and even more shockingly, stirs her senses. Is it his obviously educated manners? His arrogant, non-servant-like presence? It’s certainly not his towering, powerful form, or slumberous, inviting green eyes!
After confronting the imposter and learning the truth, Ailsa agrees to help Nik—for she, too, understands difficult relatives and would do anything for family. Soon their secret partnership leads to growing respect, searing kisses, and then something far more perilous. And when their quest turns dangerous, Ailsa and Nik must discover this unknown enemy while facing the dangerous demands of their own unruly hearts.


Mad for the Plaid signals the end of the Oxenburg Princes series, and while it was not my favorite book in the series, it was a great ending for the series.  Plaid follows the eldest Oxenburg prince, Nikolai, as he puts off an international diplomatic meeting in order to travel to the wilds of Scotland and track down his grandmother.  While visiting an old friend, "Tata" Natasha, seems to have been kidnapped.  Was she the target? Was it to destabilize Nik's negotiations?  To start a clan war in Scotland?  Nik tries to fly under the radar and find his grandmother before anyone knows she's missing.  Unfortunately, the family Natasha was staying with not only knows she's been kidnapped, but Ailsa (in charge of the estate while her father is away) is determined to prove that she can handle the situation and rescue the captives herself.
Most of the book is spent with Nik, Ailsa, and a few others traveling to reach the town where they believe they can find the hostages.  With the exception of several bandit attacks, this doesn't make for much external action and was sometimes a little slow going.  But it provided an excellent "bubble" of time for Nik and Ailsa to get to know each other without titles, money, and duty getting in the way.  They also get to see themselves in different ways.  Nik especially starts to reevaluate his view of himself and his life, he's not happy with the way Ailsa sees him in the beginning but starts to worry that she might be right!  Aisle was a great heroine, strong and stubborn enough to not fall for Nik right away, and who realizes that love, like life and leadership, is work and compromise on both sides. 

Although Plaid didn't have as much of Hawkins' trademark humor as I expected, plenty of sharp wit kept things entertaining.  Every time I thought I had figured out who the traitor was, something would come up to make me question my idea and keep me guessing. Tata Natasha doesn't play as large a role in this book as in others in the series, but her tricks ensure she gets the ending she wants for her grandson in true Natasha fashion.  While this book closes the series, we are left guessing about whether Karen Hawkins will bring Natasha back for future books- the door has definitely been left open on a very entertaining idea!  

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