I see that majority of readers think that Playing to Win to be the best of the series yet, even better compared to book #1. Well, I am going to be part of the minority group that think otherwise. In fact, I was having a bit difficulty to stay engaged throughout, which was a bummer since I really did love Colin.
I think my issues are mainly about two major things that pretty much connected. One, I couldn't warm up to Lord Andrew Sunderland -- most of the times I wanted to kick His Lordship's snooty arse. And two, well, I'm afraid that the political element dragged it down for me.
I had to appreciate Cockburn for writing this romance with the very recent political background of Scotland Independence referendum last year (Sept 2014). I thought it was an important history in the country; and even if I didn't pay attention to it -- living too far away for it to make any impact on my own country here in Indonesia, the book did make me look up for the issue. I love it when I could learn something in romance novel.
But that was also where my personal issue come from. The thing is, with Andrew being a lordship, he wasn't that sympathetic in his reasons. It felt so shallow and whiny. Look, maybe it was true, maybe the reasons why more upper class voted "No" in the referendum was that they didn't want to lose their privilege. But in that sense, it was easy to see why I (as a reader) should support Colin's passion for Scotland's independence. I guess I was waiting for a debate that felt more balanced, more intellectually stimulating rather than struggle between upper class vs. lower class.
As I read this, I couldn't help to compare this book to K.J. Charles "A Seditious Affair" (one of my highlight reads of the year) --- duly noted it was a different era but the debate between Dominic the Tory and Silas the Radical in that book felt invigorating, that I ended up rooting so badly for them both. While in here, I was, of course, behind Colin all the way until the very end. Plus the conversion of Andrew into the "Yes" group felt too hasty for me to believe in it.
So sadly, I lost interest with the two of them about half-way through and read the rest in rather perfunctorily manner. I didn't dislike it, but it was just an 'okay' read to me in the end. Fergus and John (and their united Rangers/Celtic quilt) is still my favorite couple. Let's see if I change my opinion when Liam/Robert book arrives.