All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne
St. Martin’s Press, 2020
Whew. I have so many thoughts about this book. I am a big KB fangirl. And if you’ve read anything by her before than you know to expect dark, mysterious, and high-octane emotional romances. And her latest book doesn’t disappoint!
The thoughts: All Scot and Bothered is really compelling because it harkens back to some old school (and let’s be honest, problematic) tropes. Primarily, a hero who doesn’t trust women because of his previous experience. Frankly, this hero is scarcly tolerable. He’s uptight to the point of prudishness. He’s judgemental. He’s rigid. And deep down…he’s just broken.
Now. IRL if you brought this guy to me and said “Caiti, this is my new boyfriend, Cassius.” I would look you dead in the eye and tell you, unequivocally, “Run.” Run fast. He might be gigantic and savage and hot as hell… but RUN.”
But, and if you listen to the Fates Mates Podcast they talk about this often, there’s often a rhetorical purpose to these sorts of characters appearing in romance. And when done well, they can serve to metaphorically dismantle the Patriarchy. And I see that in this book. There’s even a line when the hero says something akin to “you’ve dismantled me”.
Another thing. This book features a plus-size heroine. (I sincerely hate that term. As if “large” is somehow irregular…but whatever.) And I can see how some readers could argue that Cecelia’s insecurities about her body aren’t very fat-positive. But the thing is, feeling insecure and unworthy due to body size is a thing. It’s real. So sometimes it’s helpful to see a character working through toxic messages about her body and ultimately going on to claim herself.
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.