Nikolai Romanovin, a royal prince of Oxenburg, has travelled to the deepest wilds of Scotland to rescue his grandmother the Grand Duchess, who was abducted while visiting an old friend in the Highlands. Wanting to avoid an international incident, Nik plans to quietly slip into enemy territory disguised as a groom at Castle Cromartie. But his plans go awry when he falls under the cool gray gaze of the laird’s daughter.
Pragmatic and clever, Ailsa Mackenzie has been left in charge of the family estate and her unruly grandmother in her father’s absence. Something about the new groom catches her eyes, and makes her think he’s not who he pretends to be—and even more shockingly, stirs her senses. Is it his obviously educated manners? His arrogant, non-servant-like presence? It’s certainly not his towering, powerful form, or slumberous, inviting green eyes!
After confronting the imposter and learning the truth, Ailsa agrees to help Nik—for she, too, understands difficult relatives and would do anything for family. Soon their secret partnership leads to growing respect, searing kisses, and then something far more perilous. And when their quest turns dangerous, Ailsa and Nik must discover this unknown enemy while facing the dangerous demands of their own unruly hearts.
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Mad for the Plaid
The Small Study
November 17, 1824
“What do you mean, she’s ‘gone missing’?” Lady Ailsa Mackenzie put down the letter she’d been reading and eyed her grandmother with disbelief.
Lady Edana MacGregor Mackenzie, the Dowager Countess Cromartie, fluttered her lace handkerchief. “I mean what I said: the duchess is nowhere to be found.” Dressed in black, a color Lady Edana had assumed on the death of her husband, the late earl, more than ten years earlier, she made an impressive figure. Tall and willowy, with carefully crafted dyed-gold hair that echoed the true color that had faded years ago, Edana fought valiantly to keep age from robbing her of the famed MacGregor beauty. “Ailsa, I am deeply concerned. Poor Natasha does not know the dangers of our highland countryside.”
“Perhaps Her Grace is oot in the carriage, or going for a ride, or . . . whatever it is she wished to do.”
“Dear, it’s ‘out,’ not ‘oot.’?” Edana sighed heavily. “I do wish your father had sent you to a proper boarding school.”
“I needed to be here with Mama after she grew ill. I would nae have missed those moments for anything.”
“And now she’s gone, your papa is never here. It’s as if I lost both of them at one and the same time.” Edana gave a fretful sigh. “Your papa is neglecting us all. He should have seen to it that you went to a proper boarding school and had at least one season. You might have married by now, the way your sisters have.”
Ailsa refrained from pointing out that while her sisters had inherited Edana’s famed MacGregor beauty, Ailsa had taken after the bold Mackenzies. Where her sisters had golden hair, blue eyes, willowy figures, and perfect noses, Ailsa’s hair was a darker, less noticeable ash blond, her eyes gray, her form stalwart, while her nose could only be called “prominent.”
It was an unfortunate blend of traits.
Not that it mattered; Ailsa was twenty-two now and had no desire to be displayed on the marriage mart among a group of mindless seventeen-year-olds who would drive her mad with their empty chatter and breathless gossip. She was happy to have been left at Castle Leod, where she could hunt, ride, fish, and—when the mood suited her—throw a cloak upon the ground under a tree and read to her heart’s content. There were a thousand amusing things to do here in the highlands, and she loved them all.
She was content with her life, especially now that Papa had left the castle and estate in her care. It was a big responsibility, and she was still learning how to answer the challenges presented, one of which was keeping up with her grandmother’s elderly, and at times quarrelsome, houseguest. “Why precisely do you think Her Grace is ‘missing’?”
“We were to meet for breakfast almost an hour ago, and at her request, too, for she wished to visit that shop in the village I told her about, but she didn’t appear.” Edana sniffed. “I had to eat by myself as no one else was up.”
“So the two of you are speaking again.”
“La, child, of course we are speaking!” Edana frowned, though she instantly ceased, for fear of deepening the lines between her eyes. “I admit we’ve had a few arguments—”
“No more than is to be expected.” Edana waved her handkerchief, wafting a floral perfume through the air. “Poor Natasha; she’s changed dreadfully. She used to be quite lovely. Now . . . well, you’ve seen her. She’s aged forty years in the time we were apart.”
As it had been almost forty years to the day since the dowager countess and the grand duchess had last seen one another, Ailsa didn’t find this difficult to believe. “Are you certain Her Grace is nae just still abed?”
“I spoke with Her Grace’s maid, and she said Natasha left her bed chamber at daybreak. I asked the housekeeper to see if perhaps the poor thing was lost somewhere in the castle, as it can be confusing, but Mrs. Attnee says Her Grace is nowhere to be found.”
“Perhaps she went for a ride.”
“MacGill says all our coaches and horses are accounted for. Ailsa, I’m certain Natasha is missing. We must send a search party.”
“But the carriages and horses are all here, and you cannae be thinking she left on foot. It’s been snowing since late last night.”
“Of course she’s not walking! She’s a duchess, for the love of heaven. But if she’s been foolish, then we must stop her from—” Lady Edana clamped her lips closed.
Ailsa narrowed her gaze on her grandmother. “Stop her from what?” When Edana didn’t answer, Ailsa added, “I see. You’re hiding something.”
“Nonsense,” Edana said sharply, the faintest hint of a flush showing through her face paint. “I’m just worried.”
“Of course. Well, if there’s nae more to tell, then there’s nae more to do.” Ailsa pulled forward the stack of waiting correspondence. “The Grand Duchess Nikolaevna is neither a button that has been misplaced nor a puppy that has wandered off. Wherever she is, she got there under her own power and is where she wants to be.”
“Ailsa, please! Natasha must be found. You can’t go losing a grand duchess! Think of the scandal! Her grandson left her in our care. He will be beside himself with worry!”
“That, I doubt.” From her own correspondence with the prince, and the columns and columns she’d read about him in the papers, as well as the little her father had said of the man on meeting him at some function or another, she was well aware that the duchess’s eldest grandson was a profligate, a womanizer, and little else.
She pulled a fresh piece of paper from the center drawer and placed it before her. “Wherever the duchess is, she will return when she’s of a mind to.” Ailsa dipped her pen into the inkwell. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have at least ten letters to—”
“Fine! I’ll tell you what’s happened, but do not blame me if something ill has occurred to poor Natasha while you’ve been lollygagging about with estate nonsense!”
“?‘Estate nonsense’ is what puts a roof over our heads.” Ailsa replaced her pen in the holder. “Tell me everything.”
Lady Edana’s shoulders slumped. “Do you remember the first night Her Grace was here, and how she flirted so shamelessly with Lord Lyon, who did not look at all comfortable with her attention?”
“I vaguely remember that, aye.”
“It’s ‘yes,’ dear, and not ‘aye.’ Natasha was shameless. And my dear Daffyd—I mean, Lord Hamilton—noticed her affections were not returned. It was quite pathetic, and the whole situation put poor Natasha in quite an ill temper.”
“I noticed that. We all noticed that.”
“Exactly. And things just got worse after Lord Lyon left. Knowing how Her Grace taxes me, Hamilton said that he wished he could brighten her mood, just to be of service to me, of course. Which got me to thinking that perhaps what Natasha needed was a distraction.”
“A distraction? What do you mean— Och, you dinnae!”
“I did and it was brilliant!” Lady Edana beamed. “I asked Hamilton to ply her with attention. It worked, too, for she was in a much better mood after that, although”—Edana’s smile disappeared—“had I known then what I know now, I would never have been so charitable.”
“And what do you know now— Ah! Has Lord Hamilton come to care for Her Grace?”
“Don’t make me laugh!” Lady Edana said sharply. “He’s been playing a part, that is all. And at my request. It’s Natasha who’s made the mistake of caring, not Hamilton.”
“Really?” Ailsa considered this. “It seems much more than that to me. He sat near her at dinner last night, dinnae he?” Ailsa squinted at the ceiling, trying to remember all the places she’d seen Lord Hamilton with Her Grace. “And at the picnic and at the musicale and at—”
“Yes, yes.” Edana drew herself up, a firm smile now plastered on her lips, although it didn’t reach her eyes. “Naturally Hamilton went beyond my request, but only because he knew how much I was suffering from Her Grace’s moods. He’s been in love with me for so many years—I truly feel sorry for him.”
“I know all aboot Lord Hamilton. He eats dinner here so many nights of the week that he has his own bedchamber.”
“Then you don’t need me to tell you how concerned I was when it dawned on me that Natasha was beginning to believe Hamilton’s kindness as something more. Naturally, I warned her not to mistake Daffyd’s attention as anything other than politeness. You’d think she would have thanked me for taking the time, but no!” Edana’s jaw firmed. “She laughed and said I was jealous. Me! Jealous of an old woman like her!”
“I see. Did you mention your concerns to Lord Hamilton?”
“Of course. I warned him he was in dire danger of being put upon by Her Grace and that her feelings were unnaturally strong. He was much struck by my observations, and asked me several times why I thought such a thing. It’s laughable, I know—Daffyd and Natasha!”
Ailsa wisely didn’t say a word.
Her grandmother gave a hearty laugh that sounded oddly hollow. “Why would any man pay attention to her? She cannot be bothered with keeping out of the sun to prevent freckles, or with wearing something that fits. Like you, she refuses to maintain her appearan—” Edana closed her lips over the rest of her sentence. “You know my feelings on the subject.”
“Och aye, I know them well. Too well, many might say. When did you tell Lord Hamilton your suspicions aboot Her Grace?”
“?‘About,’ not—” Edana caught Ailsa’s expression and hurried to add, “Yesterday after lunch. He said he would speak with her immediately. Poor Natasha must have been devastated: two men in a row rejecting her. I fear she just up and left us, unable to bear the thought of facing such embarrassment.”
“But none of our coaches are missing.” Ailsa tapped her fingers on the desk. “When you asked MacGill if any of the coaches and carriages were missing, did you inquire after Lord Hamilton’s coach and horses, or just our own?”
Edana stiffened. “You cannot be suggesting that Daffyd and Natasha have— No. I will not believe it.”
“We must find oot.” Ailsa turned to the long, fringed bell pull and tugged it firmly.
“You are wasting your time.” Lady Edana sniffed.
An awkward silence filled the room until a soft knock heralded the entry of the housekeeper, Mrs. Attnee. A plump, motherly woman, she wore a beaming smile that dimmed on seeing the Dowager Countess. “Guid morning, my lady.” The housekeeper dipped a quick curtsy, her expression softening as she turned to Ailsa. “Lady Ailsa, you rang?”
“I understand you assisted in the search for Her Grace.”
Concern creased Mrs. Attnee’s forehead. “Aye. She is nae to be found. We searched the house top to bottom, too.”
“And Lord Hamilton? Do you perchance know where he is?”
“Lord Hamilton left verrah early this morning.”
“What?” Lady Edana blinked. “Are you certain?”
“I saw him myself, I did. I’d just sent the upstairs maids aboot their dooties when he came sneakin’ doon the stairs.”
“Sneaking?” Ailsa asked.
“I would nae call it other, fer he was bent o’er and walkin’ like this—” She hunched her shoulders and mimicked someone tiptoeing.
“Nonsense,” Edana announced, her neck a mottled red. “Hamilton would never move in such a-a-a subversive fashion!”
Ailsa ignored her. “Did Lord Hamilton say anything?”
“Just ‘guid morning.’ He’d just sent one of the footmen to have his coach brought round, though. I dinnae think aught of it as he sometimes leaves early for Caskill Manor if he’s plannin’ on going huntin’ and such. ’Twas obvious he dinnae wish fer company, so I left him in the foyer. When I came back later, he was gone.”
Ignoring the strange hissing sound now coming from Edana, Ailsa smiled comfortingly at the housekeeper. “So you would nae know if he left with someone.”
“Nae, I—” The housekeeper gasped. “Lord, do ye think he’s run off with Her Grace?”
Edana made a strangled noise while Ailsa said, “I think ’tis possible Her Grace decided to visit Caskill Manor at Lord Hamilton’s invitation.”
“Ah!” The housekeeper pursed her lips. “I thought there might be some courtin’ goin’ on, what with all the whisperin’ and such, although I never imagined they’d elope—”
“That is quite enough!” Edana snapped, her eyes blazing. “Mrs. Attnee, I will thank you for not spreading vile rumors!”
“There, there,” Ailsa said soothingly. “The truth does nae always come in a neat box. Sometimes ’tis a messy package, best opened when fortified by drink.”
Mrs. Attnee nodded wisely. “I’ll pour some sherry.” She made her way to the small stand near the window, poured sherry into a small crystal glass, and brought it to Lady Edana.
Lady Edana took the glass gratefully. “That harpy! I cannot believe Daffyd would—”
An abrupt knock on the door heralded the entry of MacGill. Tall and gaunt, the butler looked abnormally pale, his eyes wide. “My lady, a message has come from Caskill Manor.”
“No!” Edana threw up a hand. “Do not say Lord Hamilton has eloped with Her Grace!”
Mr. MacGill looked shocked. “Nae, my lady. Nae that. The steward at Caskill sent word. Mr. Grant says Lord Hamilton sent a note last night that he and a guest were to be expected early this mornin’ and his lordship requested a sumptuous breakfast fit fer a queen—”
Lady Edana choked, and then held out her glass for more sherry, which Mrs. Attnee instantly brought.
MacGill cast a cautious look at the countess before he continued. “His lordship and his guest never arrived.”
“What?” Ailsa asked, and for the first time, a true flicker of worry pinched her.
“Grant sent a footman here to ask after Lord Hamilton. On the way, the lad found his lordship’s carriage left on the road, blocked by a felled tree. The groom, both footmen, and three outriders were wounded, whilst one outrider was naewhere to be seen.”
Ailsa’s hands trembled, so she gripped them together. How could this be? Our guests, abducted?
“There’s more,” MacGill said in a grim tone. “The side of the coach was peppered wi’ bullets.”
Mrs. Attnee gasped while Lady Edana went pale. Ailsa found herself on her feet. “The duchess and Lord Hamilton were nae—” She couldn’t say the words.
“Nae, my lady. There was blood on the carriage seat; only a few droplets, nae more.” MacGill’s brows lowered. “But Lord Hamilton’s men found a wee rip of tartan pinned under a wheel. The Mackenzie tartan.”
“That’s ridiculous!” Lady Edana exclaimed. “We would never harm Lord Hamilton!”
“Mr. Grant knows tha’,” MacGill said. “But nae matter wha’ Grant thinks, he has nae choice but to send word of the abduction to Lord Hamilton’s brother.”
Ailsa had to bite her lip to keep from saying aloud how unjust that was. The Earl of Arran and her father had never gotten along, fighting for decades over various property lines and estate boundaries. If Arran thought them responsible, he would call for retribution. Aware of the servants’ anxious gazes now pinned on her, Ailsa tucked her fears away. “MacGill, was a note left? A ransom request?”
“Nae, my lady.”
Lady Edana put down her glass. “Cromartie must come home at once and deal with this.”
The two servants looked at Ailsa, their gazes questioning. Are they hoping I’ll send for Papa? She dropped her hands back to her sides, fighting a very real desire to do just that.
It would be easy to send for Papa and let him deal with this crisis, but in doing so she would be admitting she was unable to manage the situation herself. Ailsa wasn’t willing to do that. She had been left in charge of Castle Leod and all that entailed, and that included the well-being of her guests. “This is my mystery to solve,” she said briskly. “And solve it, I will. We must find Lord Hamilton and Her Grace.” Which was a long shot, but her only option. Whomever had organized this little charade would hide their prisoners well.
Lady Edana frowned. “Are you sure? Your Papa—”
“—is busy. I can handle this.” Ailsa said the words as confidently as she could, hoping against hope that her grandmother would agree.
To her surprise, Edana sighed, and then shrugged. “Fine. I just don’t understand one thing. Hamilton’s value is obvious, but why would someone take Her Grace? She’s not particularly wealthy that I know of.”
“Perhaps she was where she wasn’t expected—in Lord Hamilton’s coach.” Ailsa spread her hands on the desk and leaned forward. “MacGill, have a horse readied; I want to see this carriage and the ‘proof’ left behind. Inform the gamekeeper he will be accompanying me. Mr. Greer is an expert tracker and I will have need of his skill.”
“Verrah guid, my lady.” Looking much heartened, MacGill bowed and left.
Lady Edana sank back in her chair. “Lud help us all; the world is upside down!”
Ailsa managed a firm smile. “All will be well. I promise.”
Her grandmother seemed comforted by Ailsa’s words, but to herself, Ailsa had to wonder if someone was trying to start a clan war. Was it possible that Arran, tired of being put off from grabbing more of the Mackenzie land by his brother’s friendship with Lady Edana, had orchestrated this little escapade? It seemed the only answer, and yet the maneuver was so blatantly obvious that it made her wonder if something more complex was afoot. But what?
When she found the prisoners, she would have her answers. Her gaze landed on a small stack of notes resting on the corner of her desk and she grimaced. She supposed she needed to inform the prince of the current situation. Her Grace was his grandmother, after all.
Ailsa hated to do it—just exchanging a few notes about Her Grace’s missing trunk had been far too much contact with the man as it was, but there was nothing for it. Like him or not, Ailsa had a responsibility to keep him apprised of the situation. Had he been a man of substance, she might have worried he would take it upon himself to arrogantly barge in, interfering with her efforts to contain the situation and find the prisoners. Fortunately, she doubted he’d do more than demand an accounting. And that, she hoped to be able to provide, and soon.
Sighing, Ailsa sat back down, pulled a piece of foolscap her way, and began writing the necessary note.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a huge Karen Hawkins fan, but this book stood out for both the intriguing plot and interesting and well-drawn characters. Highly recommend!
I really enjoyed Nikolai and Mairi's story! I really liked how Hawkins had their love grow as they got to know each other rather than an insta-infatuation which seems to happen so often in stories. This was a great addition to the Oxenburg Princes series!
Another wonderful story from Karen Hawkins!! This is the first book in a new series and it promises to be amazing especially starting with the first story being about Conner Douglas! Conner and his three brothers travel to the home of their sister who is marred to a Duke. What they find is their sister has died giving birth and they are left with an inheritance from her that has stipulations! The brothers all have 4 months to wed in order to obtain those funds or they will go to another relative. Conner, being the most adventurous, feels he can just marry Theodora, who was a childhood friend and would probably never marry if he did not rescue her. That way he can still do all the things he is use to and not worry about Thea making objections! Well, so much for thinking that, because he finds Thea has eloped to Gretna Green with a local Squire and Douglas has to stop her! When he catches up with Thea he finds is a beautiful woman that pulls at his heart. What follows is an entertaining and heartfelt story that you need to read and be pulled into the story. I have read all of Karen's books and they are all in my "keep" stack to be reread one day! She is a wonderful storyteller and this is one that does not disappoint. Loved it! This book was furnished from the publisher for an honest review.
A charming conclusion to The Oxenburg Princes series! Plain of face, but strong of will, Lady Ailsa is determined to find out who kidnapped her guest, the Grand Duchess Natasha, without the help of Prince Nikolai, Natasha's grandson. Equally determined to do things his way, Nik disguises himself as a groom so he can slip away from his negotiations without anyone knowing so he can rescue his grandmother himself. Ailsa quickly sees through his disguise and is determined to thwart him in his quest so that she can uphold her family's honor. What neither expected was to actually like each other! This book is a fun tale of intrigue, humor, and passion, with a surprise twist! I highly recommend this terrific book, whether you have read the rest of the series or this is the first Karen Hawkins book you pick up! I was given an advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
Mad For Plaid is another great Karen Hawkins' hit. The story follows Prince Nikolai and Alisa MacKenzie as they set off with their men and her cousin to rescue the prince's grandmother and Alisa's neighbor from kidnappers. They travel through grueling conditions, encounter obstacles and fall in love. This book kept me turning pages right until the very satisfying end. Hawkins once again brings her trademark humor to a fast paced adventure. I definitely recommend this book.
A great book that was worth the wait for fans and would be a fantastic introduction to those who have not yet discovered Karen Hawkins! The chemistry between Nik and Ailsa sizzles from the very beginning and leads the reader through a chilling adventure through the Scottish Highlands. A thrillingly wonderful end to the Oxenburg Princes series!! A fast-paced read that I couldn’t put down!!
A Must Read Historical Romance Scottish Highlands Prince Nikolai Romanovin is furious when his beloved grandmother is abducted on her visit to an old friend in the Scottish Highlands. Nik plans to quietly rescue his grandmother so that he can avoid an international incident. His plan to do that is to slip into enemy territory disguised as a groom. When he falls under the cool gray gaze of the laird’s daughter his plans go awry. She instantly realizes he is not who he is pretending to be. Lady Ailsa Mackenzie has more than her share of wits even if she may be plain of looks. She demands to assist in the rescue for the honor of her clan. Together Nik and Ailsa must free his grandmother from danger. At the same time they must face the growing demands of their own unruly hearts. This is another great book in a series that has proven to be fun and interesting and that is full of some great characters. The book takes the reader on a wonderful adventure that they will be sorry to reach the end of. This is just another book from an author that proves to be able to write engrossing and fun books that never let the reader down. It will also have readers looking forward to the next series from this author. It also proves to be a very fast read as the reader keeps turning pages to see what will happen to Nik and Ailsa next.
An amusing, quick moving and intriguing Scottish romance story written to keep the reader glued to the pages. I want to be Ailsa. She is beautiful, strong of spirit, loving, funny, smart and fair. I like that she listens to those around her and pays attention to every little detail. This character would need a little refinement to function in society but she truly fits in her world. Her writing interaction with Prince Nikolai had me laughing from the first page. Her exasperation with him was hysterical plus the way she provoked him made this story very enjoyable. Ah... Nik the poor prince has a split personality but as the reader gets further into the story they will find out who the real Nik is and honesty he was fun from the first page because of his annoyance and preconceived idea of what Ailsa looked like and how she would act. There will be a part of you that will be sad for some of his feelings and wish that he finds all his hearts desire and a happy ending. As a secondary character his grandmother adds more fun to parts of the story with her peculiar ways and she shows up in other books to the series as well. This whole story is fun and adventurous but it makes a solid statement that all is not what it seems and people are stronger than you can imagine. I give this 4 stars and though it can be read as a standalone starting at the being of any series can have added value to the storyline. A copy was gifted in exchange for an honest opinion via Netgalley.
The is actually 3.5 stars. It took me a long time to get into this book. The first half of the book seemed to really drag out. Once the group travelling to deliver the ransom runs amok of the "brigands", it picked up the pace and became more of what I am used to from this author. I've enjoyed the series, but no where near as much as the Hurst or MacLean series. I will be very happy to leave Oxenburg and all its citizens to return full-time to Britain.
Mad for Plaid was definitely a good read. It kept me occupied during my entire flight to LA. I think the story line was great, but the beginning was a little slow. The story takes place in Scotland, where Tata Natasha (Nik's grandmother) is abducted during Lady Alisa Mckenzie's care, and together Nik and Alisa must rescue her and her special friend from their abductors. The build up of Nik and Alisa's relationship was really exciting, and I loved how close and candid they got with each other. Unlike most historic romance novels, I liked how Alisa was a realist, and did not pine over Nik in the ending. This made Alisa one of my favorite heroines because not only was she strong- willed and I like how she was simple looking, and she was finding out who she was and proud of that. I did like the role that Tata Natasha had as the matchmaker for Nik and Alisa. I would of liked to see a little more of her personality come out during the ending when she was rescued, I feel like this part was a bit overlooked and was skipped over. Also, loved Gregor's personality. He was quirky and definitely played the role as Alisa's protective cousin well. If you are looking for a novel with romance and a hint of suspense, this definitely is the novel for you!
This was a fun historical read with great characters. Nikolai is off to rescue his grandmother and heads to Scotland and Castle Cromartie. He pretends to be a groom but doesn’t fool Lady Ailsa the daughter of the Laird and better yet she agrees to help him. I really liked the story the characters are so much fun you can’t help but fall in love with them. This was a great ending to the series. I really enjoyed it.
This book was fun! I loved the initial letters back and forth between the two main characters - it set up the back and forth between them throughout the remainder of the book. There were scenes that had me laughing out loud (love, love, love Tata Natasha!). But the scenes that stuck with me the most are the conversations between the hero and heroine. Both are stubborn and have something to prove (to themselves more than anyone else). I also appreciated that both are very intelligent. This was a story of two very determined individuals who find someone to trust in one another. If you've read the other Oxenburg Prices books, you'll enjoy this conclusion to the series. A few earlier characters do make cameos. If you haven't read the others, this book stands on its own. I encourage you to try it out. It will make you want to read the others in the series - if for no other reason than to find out what mischief the Grand Duchess wrought in the other Princes' lives! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I knew I would enjoy this book as I had the others in the series, and of course I did - but it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me! The story was excellent, the writing very good and the book as a whole a very enjoyable read - except for the author's insistence on using Scots idioms in the heroine's speech. Even then, I wouldn't have minded if they'd all been correctly used ... most were, but every so often she'd get one wrong and since I used to be married to a Scotsman, it grated. I know why they were used, too - to give a Scots feel to her speech without overdoing it - but I'm afraid they spoiled the overall read for me. I'd be happily reading along and it would be like tripping on a protruding corner of a paving stone as you're walking. Love the books, Karen, but please - make sure the idioms are correct (and don't use them if you're not sure)! Not worth knocking a whole star off for, but if I could have knocked a half a one off, I probably would! **I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Anticipation. Waiting patiently (or sometimes not so patiently!) for a new book from your favorite author. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new Karen Hawkins book “Mad for the Plaid” the final instalment of The Oxenburg Princes series. Well, Karen did not disappoint!! The story of Lady Ailsa and Prince Nikolai (Nik), is a sweeping tale of romance, danger and intrigue. Karen weaves a tale that makes you feel like you are in the wilds of Scotland with the hero and heroine. It all starts with the abduction of Tata Natasha, Nik’s beloved (or not so beloved when she is driving him crazy!) grandmother. Nik knows he must rescue her, but Lady Ailsa has her own ideas on how to rescue her. And so two strong willed people, argue and drive each other crazy as they both think that their way is the right way to proceed. But, as they bicker, the mutual respect and affection begin to grow. As they deal with issues that come up in their travels to rescue, they realize that love has also been growing along with the respect. When I say that I love this book, it may be an understatement. I finished it in two days (I have 10 moth old twins, so, it took a little longer than usual to finish!), and then started to reread it so I could capture the magic again. I’m so sad to see this series end. I fell in love with all the princes. I’m hoping that there may be some princesses hiding that Tata can help find husbands for (and maybe even a back story on Tata???). So, hurry and get your copy of Mad for the Plaid and if you haven’t read the first two (The Prince Who Loved Me and The Prince and I) grab those too!! You will not be disappointed!! Now, to wait patiently (who am I kidding…not so patiently!) for Karen’s next series to come out!!
I received a copy of Mad for the Plaid from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Karen Hawkins continues to amaze and delight readers with her witty dialogue, amazingly strong characters and plots that keep you entertained and guessing until the very end. This is the story of Prince Nikolai Romanovin and Lady Ailsa Mackenzie. While staying at Ailsa's castle, Nik's grandmother is abducted and held for ransom. Ailsa plans to pay the ransom to avoid a clan war but Nik has plans to quietly rescue her to avoid an international incident. During the long journey to the meeting place, they are in a constant battle of leadership. Also during the journey, several attacks are made against their party. This story is about deceit, betrayal but above all a love story connecting two people from different backgrounds.
Mad For The Plaid is the third book in the Oxenburg Princes series by Karen Hawkins. It can be read as a stand-alone novel but you don’t want to miss the first two books in series (The Prince Who Loved Me and The Prince And I). Karen Hawkins has created another captivating, charming and fun romance with danger and mystery that keep you entertain throughout the whole story. Prince Nikolai Romanovin is the crown prince of Oxenburg, he deliberately pretends to be a rich, spoiled, womanizing royal prince. While on a mission he leaves his grandmother, Tata Natasha, with a friend in Scotland. But before he completes his mission, he receives a letter from Lady Alisa that his grandmother has been missing. He can't leave without there being repercussions, so he pretends to be sick and sneaks out dressed as a groom. Lady Alisa is the youngest daughter and not a beauty but she is smart, responsible and managing her father estate. When her guest goes missing, she feels responsible and plans to rescue her. She didn’t expect that the prince himself shows up as a groom and challenges her idea of ransom. Lady Ailsa immediately knows he is not a groom and tries to leave him behind, but Nikolai has some surprises for the stubborn lady Ailsa. Mad For The Plaid is absolutely a delightful romance that makes you laugh and entertain with witty banters between hero and heroine and a great plot. Thank you Karen Hawkins for writing another fabulous book!
Prince Nik's grandmother is staying with Ailsa's grandmother in Scotland when she's abducted. Nik, along with the captain of his guard and his adviser, come to Scotland to assist in finding/rescuing his grandmother. I'd have to say my favorite parts of this book were the snarkyness of Ailsa to Nik's demanding presence and the conversion of Nik from what he had become to almost a normal person! The trials this couple went through exposed Ailsa's strong character and common sense! Nik was able to grow as a person, seeing how his life had changed with the pressures of his kingdom. Perfect ending!
Nik has left his Tata Natasha with a friend in Scotland while he goes on a mission. Then he receives word from Lady Ailsa that his grandmother has been abducted. He can't leave without there being repercussions, so he pretends to be sick and sneaks out dressed as a groom. When Lady Ailsa sees him, she knows immediately that he is not a groom. Ailsa thinks she knows the best way to get Tata Natasha back, but Nik is sure his way is better. As they travel to secure her release, they meet with so much danger and it is directed towards Nik. Nik is not prepared for the betrayal that comes his way and he realizes that Ailsa is the one for him, but how can he expose her to such lies and betrayal of the court. Ailsa is strong, but she is also so very sweet and he doesn't want that to change, so he has to let her go for her own good. Will she stand for that?
Karen has done it again with this witty tale taking us across the wilds of Scotland in search of a couple of hostages. This was a wonderful end to the Boys of Oxenburg. Nikolai can't believe it when his grandmother is kidnapped. He rushes to see what he can find out under the guise of being a groom. Ailsa can not believe that the Grand Duchess has been kidnapped under her watch. As they both undertake a journey to find the kidnappers and hostages, they find a common attraction and fight not to succumb to it before they reach the end of their journey. Such a wonderfully written book about a man that has to chase the woman who has peaked his attention. Such a great ending. Can't wait to see if she continues with the bachelors of Oxenburg's Court.
Karen Hawkins never fails to please. In the next book in the Oxenburg series you get to meet Ailsa, who is a witty and headstrong scottish lady. We also get to know Nik, who we got a glimpse of in the other books. Ailsa is a country lady left to care for the family estate; she knows she is plain and is content with life. Nik is the crown prince of Oxenburg who is tired of the intrigue and has been betrayed too many times to trust anyone. When Tata Natasha, Nik's grandmother, is kidnapped while visiting Ailsa's grandmother, they have to team up to save her. As with all the series, Tata Natasha, my favorite character, is a scene stealer and helps Nik and Ailsa realize their love for each other. This charming book seems to be the last of the series, but Tata Natasha might still have some match-making still in her.
Mad for the Plaid by Karen Hawkins Oxenburg Princes Series Release Date: August 30th, 2016 4.5 Stars - This book was great! This series was great! Seriously love these princes! Ailsa was wonderful and stubborn to a fault sometimes, but honest and caring as well. Nik was a great lead, he was sweet and protective. I enjoyed how he watched Ailsa while they camped, like he was trying to figure her out. Also, I love when the hero says something to the heroine in another language. Leaving me guessing at the meaning like the heroine, till he explains or I go and look it up, either way, it’s a favourite little tidbit for me. The witty banter was fun and their moments alone were charged full of electricity. All of these together made this book hard to put down! Tata Natasha is ever the matchmaker and always brings a bit of a chuckle with her little plots. Maybe we will see her in the future playing out more of her schemes?? This series has been fantastic. To begin the series, I would suggest reading How to Pursue a Princess. As it’s technically the first book, although it’s not listed as the first, as it is part of another series. I also see there is another novella coming out for this series! Which is exciting! Karen Hawkins is, as always, a wonderful storyteller. I look forward to reading her next book! The order I recommend reading this series in: 1.How to Pursue a Princess (Duchess Diaries #2) 2.The Prince Who Loved Me 3.The Prince and I 4.The Princess Wore Plaid 5.Mad for the Plaid 6.Twelve Kisses to Midnight (Ooooh I can’t wait for this one!!!) *I received and ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
Another great tale by Karen Hawkins! In Mad for the Plaid, the latest from the Oxenburg series, we see Nicholai Romanovin meet his match with Ailsa Mackenzie from the very beginning. What starts as an playful exchange over a missing trunk, quickly turns into a kidnapping. Nicholai needs Ailsa to balance his serious side (and the pressure of ruling) and in turn, he shows her that there is more to life than being behind a desk. From playing a very arrogant stable boy to a suave diplomat, Alisa is able to see through each and every time to the real Nicholai, which shows us not only her character, but her intelligence as well. Ms. Hawkins gives us a lot of romance, some humor, and by throwing in a little intrigue and a very dangerous situation has made this a story well worth reading. The part that I enjoyed the most however, was that she showed us with Nicholai's story that our past and our present situation help define our character and how we interact with others!
Conspiracy and adventure are the driving force behind Nik and Lyssa's clandestine love affair. Seeking to gain answers and enjoy some much needed freedom Nik sets in motion plans to ensure his identity remains hidden. What he does not count on is stumbling across his heart's desire in the form of an impetuous spirit like Lyssa. While her family responsibilities are first and foremost in her daily life, Lyssa secretly years for more. When a dashing guard enters her world, how could she have known her life would never be the same. Mad about Plaid spins an animated escapade of passion, secrets and captivating romance.
This was by far the best in the series! Passionate, adventurous, exciting, emotional, everything you want in a great romance. The characters were strong and the plot was deliciously delightful to read. Nik and Ailsa were perfect together and his struggle to trust her and her fear of never being trusted by him due to his past kept the tension ramped up from beginning to end. From their first impressions of each other based on their letters to the scene in front of her barn with the cigar and vodka and him pretending (and failing) to be a groom, to their explosive passion just made for an absolutely enjoyable read. The only thing I couldn't figure out with this one was which fairy tale was she rewriting. Book one was a Cinderella story and book two was the Robin Hood story, so which one was this? If you have read it, let me know, I'm curious.