In the vein of the legendary rivalry between the Hatfields and the McCoys, author Suzanne Enoch conjures up a similar enmity between the Campbells and the MacLawrys in her historical romance Rogue with a Brogue. In Regency England, the opposing families encounter a Romeo and Juliet style romance blossoming before their eyes, but unlike in Shakespeare’s classic tale, the two families decide to honor a truce forged by the leaders of their respective clans rather than set their kinfolk towards a tragic end.
No one made plans for Arran MacLawry and Mary Campbell to meet, let alone feel drawn to one another, so when their attraction builds into an intimate relationship, the two take themselves and their families by surprise. Though the two are cognizant of the wedge between their families, they act independent of their family’s directives, pursuing one another without permission to do so. They display a very 21st century mindset, which is attractive to modern readers though it likely does not fit the general perception of the people in the period when the story takes place.
Enoch’s writing style offers the reader a level of comfort which dissolves any impending fear that the couple will be stopped by their families, unlike the Montagues and the Capulets in Shakespeare’s tale. Her use of Scottish vernacular gives the read authenticity, the dialogue sprinkled with such archaic terms as “naught” and “nea.” The aged language makes the characters viably Scottish, with lingo like that portrayed in Mel Gibson’s movie Braveheart.
The ending comes as no surprise to the reader; in fact, the couple’s union is expected. It’s the path that the families take to mend their differences which holds the reader’s attention. The family’s lengthy discussions and deliberations are skillfully developed to cover every aspect of the story’s situations. The story takes place in a time when alliances are made through marriages, but Enoch’s characters see beyond that and take action towards the pursuit of their own happiness, showing flickers of the Age of Enlightenment.