Review: A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

Review: A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana GrayA Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

Narrator: Gemma Massot
Series: Emmeline Truelove #2
Genres: Time Travel Romance
Published by Penguin Audio on September 19, 2017
Pages: 12 hours 18 min
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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three-stars      three-flames

Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing that, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea and married the castle’s first laird.

But Haywood and Truelove soon realize they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide. When their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, their quest takes a dangerous turn through time, which puts Haywood’s extraordinary talents—and Truelove’s courage—to their most breathtaking test yet.

The Delight

A Strange Scottish Shore is book two in the Emmeline Truelove series.  I started with the first book, had some niggles so cautiously picked this one up to see if it improved for me by giving the series another chance.   It’s a blend of genres that is usually an all-systems go for me:  history, mystery, strong female lead, compelling side characters including a potential romantic interest, and a dash of the sci-fi just when I wasn’t suspecting it.

Review

Mmm, yes, but no.  I was no more enamored with the series on my second encounter.  There are a few things that just do not work for me, personally, that I wasn’t fond of in the first book and continued through into this one.  And, there is yet another couple of iffy items that were added to the mix when I attempted A Strange Scottish Shore on audio.

First, what worked.  Because yes, this one had a lot of good going for it as well- hence the average rating.  I did love the world of the Emmeline Truelove series- both the early twentieth century and the mid-fourteenth because of the time traveling that allowed for both.  I also enjoyed that clever time travel element that brings with it a built in aura of mystery because Truelove, Max and Silverton are pretty much winging it with how it works and why people are popping into and out of time.  I thought the pairing of a straight-laced, sharp-minded Truelove with a lively, clever and witty Silverton was a great romance and adventure pair.  The overall story has some appeal as well.

But… yes, there are some issues for me.  While I can respect several facets of Truelove’s character.  She can also pull some stubborn-stupid and gah, her squirreliness to admit to feelings and be honest with Silverton even after all that time was really starting to grind me.  I wanted to shout back at my iPod- She acts like this independent strong-willed woman, but then goes all pokered up school marm when it comes to feelings.
Sigh… but also, the plot is disjointed and loose in many places.  It just doesn’t stay neat and got me scratching my head.  I had a lot of whys in the end and they had nothing to do with the dangling threads leading into book three.  No, its just a loose plot that needed to be more focused.  The time travel element seems to get out of control and cause some issues.  This was my biggest issue in book one.  Maybe its just me as a reader that just isn’t a good match up.

The narrator was a first time for me, Gemma Massot.  Overall, I thought she did well.  There were a few times I felt the story was bland, but I’m not sure if that was the fault of narrator so much as written material she was working with.  I thought she did a pretty good job with Truelove’s voice and several others, but I struggled when it came to Silverton.  He’s an aristocrat and yet she has him dropping his ‘h’s and sounding lower class.  It was distracting.  But otherwise I was pleased with her work and most definitely her narrative voice.

So, while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.  I liked it, but I don’t really feel a desire to keep going with the series right now.  I will still recommend it to those who want to try what’s out there when it comes to historical romantic suspense and time-travel blends.

My thanks to Penguin Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #292 HR
New Release #173 Audio #64 

Recommendations

  

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Sorry to hear you didn’t love it, it sounds like it had a lot of potential.

    • Yes, it did. I liked it, but I kept getting hung up on certain things. Oh well, just not the series for me, I guess. 🙂

  • Sorry this did not go as you expected. It does sound interesting though.

    • Yeah, I really wanted to like it b/c you’re right, its really interesting and clever with the elements. Maybe it will be a good one for you and others. 🙂

  • I was curious about this series but it looks like it isn’t that remarkable. Sorry to hear it didn’t meet up.

    • It might be worth it for you to check and see if its at the library to give it a try. It’s was just not meshing for me. 🙁

  • Oh that’s too bad, I was curious about this one!

    • Yes, it has a lot of great elements that made me want to pick it up, but I just struggled because the story seems to wander around at times and Truelove is supposed to be so smart and yet she leaps into things with little thought. Argh! LOL. But its not a bad story so maybe… try it.

  • I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it that much compared to the previous book 🙁 What a shame, those cover looks really cute. Hope your next read would be better Sophia Rose.

    • Thanks, Vanessa. I think it may be my tastes and little things that annoy me about this one, but might not someone else. Already got in a few fantastic books. 🙂

  • Oh yes, when a character repeatedly denies, even as they have progressed it irritates the crap out of me..lol

    • I just… she realizes at the end of the last book and leaps into danger in this one to rescue him at all costs, but she can’t even admit it to herself by the middle of events in this book. Drove me nuts. LOL

  • Karen

    Probably not for me, but what an adorable cover.

    For What It’s Worth

    • Yes, probably a niche reader audience since its historical and time travel. The covers are lovely. I like the cover on book one even better.

  • It’s hard to decide at times whether to continue the series if you had some niggles about book 1. Too bad that you didn’t like book 2 more than book 1 and still had some things that didn’t work for you. It does sound like a good blend of genres and the world does sound interesting. That’s good it had some parts you did like.

    I can see how her stubborn behavior would get annoying after a while. I had a book recently where the plot could get a bit disjointed at times and eventually DNF’d it. When there are lots of things that don’t make sense, it can really diminish your enjoyment of the book. Great review!

    • Some series I give up on right away b/c I know its not a good match for me, but others, it’s tough to figure out with just one book. I’m glad I kept going so it wouldn’t leave me wondering each time I spotted the series out there, but now, I know that its not for me even if it sounds good. 🙂

  • That’s too bad, Sophia. I read the intro novella but then didn’t go on. I think maybe that was the right call. Thanks for the heads up on this one!

    • Yeah, it had such potential to be a real favorite for me, but I just had no idea how things got from point a to point b sometimes and started muttering about looking before you leap and for the love all that is holy quit lying to yourself and the guy when it came to the heroine. LOL
      But I do want to go back and catch that novella you read at some point. It’s a many years before this group and their story. I’m curious about the old duchess (whose the young gal in your story).

      • The novella was good but I think if I’m remembering right the guy from the novella is then dead in the series? Something like that maybe. I was a bit miffed over that so didn’t go on.

        • Yeah, the beginning of book one is his funeral and the premise is his secretary sent to track down his heir who has disappeared. I don’t think I’d like it if I’d started with the novella either- why get me vested and then kill the guy off?

  • Sorry this one didn’t completely work for you. I think that I will most likely skip this series.

  • Too bad. Sure does have a pretty cover though.

    • Yeah, I was bummed that I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. Oh yes, I love the covers on this series. My favorite is the book one cover.
      Happy Thanksgiving, Velvet!