Highland Dragon Warrior
This was a little surprise of a book. I think I got it on recommendation from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, just for an escapist, throwaway historical romance read at night when I was suffering from insomnia. But…it ended up not helping me sleep! (because I read far longer than I wanted to)
Sophia Metzger is traveling to the Highlands in search of a dragon’s scale. She’s a Jewish alchemist, and needs the scale for some kind of research that never is really explained. She gets over the awkward “I know you’re a highland lord but really a dragon shifter” by straight up telling Cathal MacAlasdair that she knows– and he accepts it because he needs her to help one of his men who is slowly dissolving into nothingness after an encounter with an English sorcerer.
What follows is not the alpha-male shifter and breathless, helpless stereotyped romance of this genre. Indeed, what follows is a pleasant dip into some history of that time vis-a-vis references to Edward Longshanks, sophia’s comments on the terrible smells, and some discussion of the workings of the castle in preparation for blizzards, etc.
Half of the book is spent on Sophia’s figuring out alchemical processes (that sometimes cause eyebrows to catch fire or singes her gowns) to save Cathal’s man. And there is the sorcerer attacking from afar.
Just a little bit about Cathal as a dragon.
Sophia is not naive…she knows a foreigner without Gaelic is no match for Cathal. He slowly warms to her as he discovers her seriousness and honest intentions. There’s very little battle and a lot of sitting around doing chemistry with a little dream walking thrown in. There’s a bit of steaminess near the end, but before that mostly just a bit of kissing and heated cheeks. While the ending was what you’d expect from this genre, it felt a bit rushed. I wished for more about what happens after they leave the castle…hoping I”ll find that in later books in the series despite the main couples changing.