Julianna Garnett might be famous and popular for her well-researched Historicals, but when it comes to her storytelling talent I found her lacking. Iíve read better Historicals set in Scotland, the highly recommendable Heaven and the Heather by Elizabeth Holcombe one of the more recent ones.
The Laird is obviously very well researched but it is also too wordy and forced and left me with no chance but to use my own imagination. I felt like the author tried to force her desired atmosphere on me, and that left me overwhelmed and uncomfortable.
Paced too slowly, the story of Judith Lindsay and Robert Campbell, laird of Glenlyon drags. Ninety pages into the book and the story finally started to interest me.
Judith is a hostage of Robertís father, the Red Devil. When she is asked to write her own ransom note she refuses, as she feels she has nothing to return to. Her father treasures his lands and status more than his daughter, and her late husband's Scottish family has no use for their lairdís English widow.
Set in 1327, the conflict between The Bruce and Edward escalates and Robert and Judith fight their own battles. When Judith, strong and brave, faces down the Red Devil and is then accused of witchcraft, Robert rescues her and brings her to his lair. Their attraction and love is obvious from their first meeting Ė which left me with no suspense and therefore bored. And although I admired Judith I felt that Ms Garnett cared more for the descriptions of sensory details than character development.
The writing voice is lush and very often suffocating with a definite information overload, trying my patience on several occasions. I dislike having to wade through obvious research in search of a story. A story without any substance once the details were left behind.
The Laird isnít a story I liked or enjoyed, but Iím sure that readers familiar with Julianna Garnettís style and fascinated by any Scottish romance novel will get their money worth.