Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What does it mean to know love? Even more, what does it mean to love and be loved unconditionally? These are the questions of Jolie Vines’s newest book, Picture This, the fourth book in the Marry the Scot series. In this book, we are re-introduced to the McRaes, Scottish Highlanders who fall deeply in love with the women who hold their interest.
This story follows William or “Wasp,” one of the twins who are the youngest of the McRaes. In an earlier book, namely the second book in the series, Love Most, Say Least, William is a teen, one wanting to follow in his brothers’ footsteps. He loses his virginity to Taylor, his “adopted” brother James’s sister’s friend. At that moment, this is everything to him. Fast forward several years to this book, and William runs across Taylor again at a gala where he rushes to protect her from a potential tragedy. As in the past, sparks fly, and he realizes that he has never moved past his time with Taylor; she has indelibly marked him forever.
Conversely, Taylor is stuck. She is trying to ensure the care of her sick aunt, and the only way to do so means making a “deal with the devil,” her father. In her family, she has only been seen as a pawn, something to deal and manipulate for her father’s political gain. Taylor struggles to truly know herself except she has always felt most true to herself in William’s arms. Before sacrificing herself for her father’s gain, she decides to connect with William again. She travels to Scotland where she decides to accompany William as he photographs a music tour through Europe and the U.S. As they journey, Taylor begins to understand the truth about love through William’s love for her. Their relationship grows, and Taylor must decide if she can live a life with William or sacrifice it to protect her aunt.
As I’ve mentioned in prior reviews on Vines’s books, she knows how to write the swooniest of heroes. She easily combines an alpha personality with the most tenderest of hearts. William is no different. I’ve loved Callum, James, and Gordain in this series, along with Arnie in her book, Race You. If you look back at each of my reviews for those books, you’ll notice me waxing poetic at the way she marries these two qualities into her heroes. Well, William is the epitome of this. He is definitely my new favorite Vines hero. He isn’t stubborn like Callum, too serious like James, and reticent like Gordain. This man knows what he wants early on, and he makes it his mission to pour love into Taylor. He is alpha where it matters: the bedroom. However, he doesn’t take the persona into the real world. He recognizes that Taylor simply needs to be loved in order to bloom. He’s tender and thoughtful, qualities she desperately needs. Vines constructs him to be the true soulmate for Taylor, and you never doubt their connection.
I also loved that Vines gives the perfect William a weakness: introversion. And his introversion is significant. It manifests itself, not only emotionally, but also physically. He sees this as a problem, but Vines uses it to humanize him, or he would be too much, too perfect, something impossible in the world. I connected with William’s introversion as I too am introverted and need space from people, even though I don’t manifest physical symptoms. The power of great authors is helping their readers connect with their characters.
While I love William (really, really love him), honestly Taylor held my heart. I mourned for her past when it’s revealed that her aunt is the only person who has shown her unconditional love. Her parents don’t “see” her, and they don’t love her in the way she needs love. Given this past, she cannot even recognize falling in love. Until William. When she begins to realize her love for him, she becomes like him, offering him tenderness and thoughtfulness. She cares for him and accepts his issues with introversion. Like William sees Taylor, Taylor also “sees” the true William. Again, these two are true soulmates, a sense that Vines crafts so well.
There is a little bit of angst in this book, but it is always so mild. It is meant to keep the reader engaged in the story, but not to shut them down. Vines carefully creates a story of love that piques your interest, carries you through Taylor and William’s turmoil, and delivers you to their happily-ever-after at the end. With that, she brilliantly incorporates her past characters from the series, so it feels like you’re returning to a beloved place. She offers us little updates of Callum/Mathilda, James/Beth, Gordain/Ella, and Ally. I think that’s one of the things I love about the series, especially this one.
And finally, she leaves you with a whopper of a cliffhanger, leading into Ally’s book. I did NOT see it coming, setting up the next book which she’s projecting for September, thank goodness.
I absolutely love a Jolie Vines’s book; Picture This is no different.She has her own voice, and her heroes are distinct. I think that’s one of my favorite parts of reading: reading and recognizing an author’s specific style. And Vines’s voice is very distinct. As questioned at the beginning of the review, what does it mean to love and be loved? Well, this reader loves Jolie Vines’s books, and I don’t foresee that love diminishing any time soon.
In love and romance,