cover image Plaid Tidings

Plaid Tidings

Mia Marlowe. Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4201-2973-1

Marlowe’s insubstantial latest historical is more of a snack than a meal. While on a mission in 1814 Scotland, English spy Alexander Mallory wins a barony, a cursed manor, and a fiancée, all in one card game. Lucinda MacOwen is beautiful, charming, and sweet, but Alexander is determined not to have his clandestine work hampered by a wife. The wedding happens anyway because they can’t keep their hands off each other, and soon Alexander decides marriage isn’t so bad after all. When Alexander and Lucinda arrive at Bonniebroch, they meet a ghostly steward and learn more about the curse. There’s no spark of originality to rescue the familiar elements. The saving grace to this plodding romance is Brodie, Lucinda’s ghost companion since childhood, who injects humor and common sense into her life. It’s not clear why Lucinda falls in love with Alexander, and the Christmas wedding is mostly a gimmick. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Oct.)