Book Review: Betting the Scot (The Highlanders of Balforss) by Jennifer Trethewey

Betting the Scot is the second book in The Highlanders of Balforss series by Jennifer Trethewey. I did read and enjoy the first book in this series, Tying the Scot, but think that each book can be enjoyed on its own. 

Declan Sinclair is a Highlander who believes his dreams never lie. When he spots Caya at a public house, he knows instantly she is the woman in his dreams—his future wife. Though her brother had promised never to gamble again, he engages Declan in a card game—and the prize is the lovely Caya.  Caya Pendarvis has no time for childish things like dreams or fairy-tales or love. She’s the sacrificial lamb on her way to the far north of Scotland to wed a wealthy merchant in exchange for settling her brother’s gambling debts.  Winning at cards is one of the many things Declan Sinclair does well. Unfortunately, the ability to court a woman—a talent he lacks—is the only skill he desperately needs to win Caya’s heart.
Betting the Scot is a multi layered romance that catches the attention, and keeps it through out the entire read. I liked the set up with Caya, and her brother. I also like that while Declan is far from poor, neither Declan or Caya are gentry, which is a nice change of pace in historical romance. So often the main players are Dukes, or other lords and ladies, so while Declan is related to the head of his clan he is not exactly royalty. I like that Declan is certain Caya is to be his wife, but is so lost and uncertain about how to go about making it happen. Caya is at a loss after her brother sells her, them gambles her away. She still loves him, and wants to help him, but knows that he has greed and weaknesses that are dangerous. I enjoyed getting Declan's side of the story for most of the book, and liked his honor and kindness, that is not always obvious to those around him. I will admit that I was annoyed with Caya for trusting her brother after all he had done, and for not fully confiding in Declan.I though Declan was a complex and sympathetic character, and I was rooting for him through the entire book. I found Caya to be a little less likable, she often annoyed me in her own way, but I never hated her. I think if she had trusted Declan more, and her brother less, I would have enjoyed the book even more. The danger was well done, and the drama crafted with a satisfying conclusion. I loved getting to see Peter in action again, after loving his character in the previous book, although those that did not already know him will still find this young secondary characters to be fabulous. I also liked getting a hint as to who might be next while not leaving so many open questions that I was frustrated. 
Betting the Scot is a well written historical romance with plenty of twists and turns. I enjoyed the characters and their depth, and my only complaint is that sometimes I feel like there might be one too many twists that could be replaced with conversation to ease communication issues rather than life or death danger turning the tide.

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