Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan

Highland Surrender* is a historical romance novel set in the Scottish Lowlands in the 16th century. At one point, the heroine reaches up to undo a button at the hero’s collar. Did they even have buttons in 1537? To the Googles!

My search results included a partial topic listing for “button” on Wikipedia, including –

  • Buttons in museums and galleries
  • Early button history
  • Buttons in politics

How tantalizing!

Some museums and art galleries hold culturally, historically, politically, and/or artistically significant buttons in their collections. The Victoria & Albert Museum has many buttons, particularly in its jewellery collection, as does the Smithsonian Institution.

The list of potential button relevance is giving me life. I would TOTALLY go through all of the button drawers at the V&A. I looked through all the drawers of lace when I had the chance.

Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes appeared first in Germany in the 13th century. They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.

Okay, Tracy Brogan. You win this round, but button knowledge, or no, your figures of speech leave a lot to be desired. I bookmarked some for just such an occasion:

  • But the morning dawned soft and fair, mild as a Highland calf (PAGE ONE!)
  • Her pulse thrummed, like the flap of a thousand swans leaving the surface of a loch.
  • Press this issue further and you’ll find yourself in a storm of regret. (That one was pretty cool.)
  • Questions crashed inside Myles’s mind, clattering like hooves against a cobbled street.
  • Mild relief tapped Myles upon the shoulder.
  • …the gaze of his familiar sapphire eyes pierced through her, splintering her lungs like shards of glass

To be honest, and fair, this book was simply not my cup of tea: wrong era, wrong setting, wrong subplot. I can see how, if it was to one’s tastes, this would be a fun read. The off-putting elements would have been fine with me in a story I was interested in. The writing in romance novels is often exactly this overwrought. Yes, even in the “good” ones. If the characters and story are truly compelling, the reader can/will overlook a multitude of sins *cough*Outlander *cough*. I’m not the audience for this book, and as genre fiction is so readership specific, I should probably keep my big, condescending mouth shut. Highland Surrender has averaged 4.3/5 stars from over 300 reviews on Amazon. It’s a pretty impressive score and likely a safe indicator of quality (violently skewed for the genre), if you are looking for a political intrigue Scottish renaissance romance.

*Not to be confused with Highland Obsession, Highland Legacy, Highland Quest, Highland Vengeance, Highland Betrayal, Highland Defiance, Highland Rescue, Highland Rake, Highland Heart, Highland Healer, Highland Destiny, My Highland Love, A Highland Home, Highland Sons,  The Highlander, Highlander Ever After, Highland Ever After, Sins of the Highlander, Highlander’s Captive, The Highlander’s Hope, The Highlander Takes a Wife, or the other books called Highland Surrender.

The (Shameful) Tally

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