This time, the Gaslight Chronicles moves to the highlands. A young Lord, Magnus, Baron Findlay, washes up from the sea nearly dead after fighting a kraken. Dr. Geneva MacKay is dispatched by the order to see to his care. Though she is not pleased to once again leave her practice behind even briefly after struggling to establish herself as one of the few female physicians in Edinburgh, she assents to her father’s wish. Geneva does what she can for Magnus but fears that it won’t be enough and decides to help fulfill his dying wish to return home. Once in Torkholm, much to her surprise, the magic of the island quickly heals Magnus. Though his health has returned, they must still deal with the fact that krakens continue to leave the deep to attack the tiny island. Can Magnus and Geneva discover the source of the attacks? How will the two deal with their deepening attraction, when Magnus cannot leave the island?
Kilts & Kraken is an exceedingly quick read coming in at one hundred and eleven pages. I actually found the mystery itself quite interesting and which that it had been expanded. In many ways, the mystery of the kraken attacks was too often displaced to center the romance between Magnus and Geneva. We did get some of the legend that has been customary from this series with Magnus clearly being a descendant of the vikings and the name Torkholm being derived from Thor. The people of Torkholm are still very suspicious and there is a strong belief that the Gods are angry about the modernization of the island as the cause of attacks, making Kilts & Kraken and age old story of superstition and old religion versus progress.
In some ways the character of Geneva is progressive. She becomes one of the first female doctors and is not shy about being sarcastic when there is a suggestion that her gender disqualifies her from being a good doctor. While Magnus is brandishing weapons to fight the kraken, it is Geneva who uses her intelligence to get to the root of the mystery. Many of the weapon in Kilts and Kraken are employed in some way and are not waiting on a man to make their life complete. Geneva in fact makes it clear that her practice is her life.
Sexually, though Geneva has not had intercourse, she does have some experience. Magnus however views himself as having taken her innocence, because Geneva’s hymen was intact. This of course privileges intercourse as the only kind of sex that matters and is problematic given that once again, there are not GLBT characters in this series. Geneva even admits to masturbating but is too embarrassed to admit it to Magnus though he has no problem acknowledging that he self pleasures during his time of abstinence. This casts a veneer of shame and over Geneva’ desires. The following passage was further troubling: