Well, after a promising start, this one ultimately fell a little flat for me. I loved the thrill and excitement of the beginning - Rhoslyn our widowedWell, after a promising start, this one ultimately fell a little flat for me. I loved the thrill and excitement of the beginning - Rhoslyn our widowed and grieving heroine is captured by our handsome hero Talbot St Claire who she has been betrothed to as she rides out to marry in haste to another man of her grandfather's choosing and is then once again abducted by another man only to be rescued by Talbot. It was all very exciting and breathtaking BUT I kind of then expected a beautiful romance between Talbot and Rhoslyn and, while we did get a bit of that, it ultimately disappointed me with it's lack of passion and feeling and, for me, it's all about the FEELS.
The second half of the story has so many extra characters thrown into the mix that I got thoroughly confused as to who everyone was and how they all fitted in and it all distracted me from the romance which I wanted to be up front and centre but really took a back seat to all the confusing action. Possibly my expectations were wrong but the cover really did lead me down that path and I felt a little let down by it all and rushed through the second half.
Also, the big drama that I'd been expecting and anticipating right from the first abduction of Rhoslyn happened 'off page' and I'd been dying to see that and howled in frustration at that point. Talbot was a great character that I liked a lot but he was pretty much the only one and I didn't care much for our heroine for large parts of the story.
2.5 sadly disappointed stars - probably not the right highland romance for me ...more
I am on such a MASSIVE Highlander jag right now thanks to Outlander - that show has totally rekindled my love for this genre but it's been difficult t
I am on such a MASSIVE Highlander jag right now thanks to Outlander - that show has totally rekindled my love for this genre but it's been difficult to find authors that work for me but, at last, I think in Amy Jarecki, I have found a winner. This is the second book of hers I have read and I've very much enjoyed both of them.
A Highland Knight's Desire has just about everything you could possibly want in a historical romance - a big burly protective as hell hero, a feisty kickass heroine, kidnap, murder, wrongful imprisonment, torture, daring rescue and wonderfully lusty 'chamber' scenes. The story romps along at a rate of knots with never a dull moment and I loved every second.
This time, our hero is Sir Duncan - eldest son and heir of 'Black' Colin, the hero of the previous book in this series. Duncan is part of the Scottish King's 'Highland Enforcers' - the author's version of Highlander Special Forces and fairly reminiscent of Monica McCarty's Highland Guard series. He's been tasked to rescue Lady Meg who has been kidnapped by an English Lord and return her to the safety of her brother's castle. Of course, it doesn't all go to plan and Sir Duncan ends up taking Meg back to his own keep for her safety before returning her to her brother. And, inevitably, he gets injured during the rescue, she tends to his wounds and one things lead to another and before they know it, they're falling in love - a forbidden love as Meg's brother is unlikely to approve the match.
We go on such a spectacular journey with these two - all over Scotland as they lurch from one disaster to the next. It's just SO much fun with plenty of humour as well as action and romance. Duncan is just a fabulous bear of a Highlander - gruff, totally hench, protective, possessive and 100% alpha male. What's not to love?? He does manage to get things very wrong where Meg is concerned many times which adds wonderfully to the angst but he does, eventually, more than make up for it. He ends up in really dire situations and I found it really hard to put the book down, even when I should have been sleeping, as the action and shocks come thick and fast. A very thrilling ride.
Meg was a fantastic heroine - she's absolutely no doormat. She's a strong, plucky Scottish lass, ferociously loyal and fiercely determined. She was an absolute tour de force and her determination to rush in where others fear to tread left me breathless and Duncan's big strong warriors pretty much in awe of her. It would be a foolish man that threatens this fiery redhead and those she loves.
Meg considers herself to be a poor candidate for a wife though as she has been born with a deformed left hand - just a thumb and forefinger and herein lay my only problem with the book. I wasn't bothered that she had this deformity but her insistence on referring to it as 'The Claw' constantly conjured Jim Carey in Liar Liar and I found it hard to get over that every time it was mentioned.
Other than that, this was a fabulous read. One thing I'm finding it hard to get used to when reading historical romance is the timescale that authors have to play with. It's vast and I sometimes find it hard when reading a series that the hero I have loved in a book, possibly only days before, is now an old man or, worse, dying! Also the last time I saw Duncan he was a young boy running around the keep and suddenly he's a HUGE warrior and more than just a little preoccupied in what is going on beneath his kilt. I think this is a problem peculiar to the contemporary romance reader venturing back into the midsts of time!
Another fabulous read from Amy Jarecki - can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
I do so love a Highlander romance but this whole genre can be very hit and miss for me so I can't stress how thrilled I am to have discovered an authoI do so love a Highlander romance but this whole genre can be very hit and miss for me so I can't stress how thrilled I am to have discovered an author who appears to be a really good fit for me. Amy Jarecki has given me exactly what I want and need in a highlander romance - an angsty romance, a steely hero, a feisty heroine, plenty of hot sexy scenes and a thrilling story to underpin it all. And, even better, she appears to have a fairly extensive back catalogue for me to peruse! Win Win!
We start Knight in Highland Armour in a moment of sadness. Colin Campbell, known as Black Colin for his fearsome prowess on the battlefields of the Crusades and for crushing the Douglas rebellion, loses his beloved wife in childbirth leaving him with a motherless infant son and a call up to join yet another crusade. Heartbroken but knowing he must arrange for his son's care in his absence, he petitions the King for a new wife. He expected a comely widow with an ample bosom and child-bearing hips but that was not what he got.
The King chooses Margaret Robinson, daughter of a Lord - very beautiful, very free-spirited and very happy go lucky. Not at all what he expected or wanted but he marries her anyway and, after a very inauspicious consummation, takes her to his castle to meet her new stepson and start her life as his new wife. Still besieged by grief and guilt, he doesn't want to care for Margaret but he cannot help be charmed by her enthusiasm, her joie de vivre and willingness to involve herself in every aspect of his estate.
Sigh! I just adored Colin even though he behaved badly more than once. Here is a man who has just lost his beloved but can't help his growing love for his new wife even though he badly wants to resist it. He's very conflicted and I so loved that there was no 'insta-love' here and that their love grew slowly throughout the story. He's very concerned with doing the right thing and is torn between his duties as a new husband and father an as a soldier of the crusades. He's very stoic with a steely resolve and a completely frozen heart that Margaret is slowly beginning to thaw.
Margaret was such a refreshing heroine - no shrinking violet, she's determined to help Colin build his new castle and settle his accounts. She's bright and feisty and just what he needs in his life even though he's far too obstinate to see it for a long time. I often felt very sorry for her - this must have been a lonely life, taken from her family to start afresh with a man who refused to even entertain the idea of falling in love with his new wife but she relishes the challenge and throw herself wholeheartedly into it all.
This was wonderfully written - just enough description to bring to life 15th century Scotland without overstepping the mark and turning it into purple prose. Colin, Margaret, their castles and the supporting cast all came vividly to life in my imagination and the whole thing played out like a movie to me. I was completely lost and devoured the book in less than a day. It's also very sexy and I'm happy to report that there was real passion to be seen here - something I often miss in a Highland romance when I'm far more used to reading contemporary erotic romance.
This was a highly-consuming romance full of passion, intrigue and very real characters as it's all based on true events in Scottish history. The story held me rapt through to the very end as their love is severely tested over the years as fate and villains attempt to intervene and separate them. Thoroughly engrossing, I can highly recommend this one.
Amy Jarecki - you're my new queen of the Highlands!
It really doesn't give me pleasure to leave negative reviews but I firmly believe in HONEST reviews and this book was not at all to my liking soOh my!
It really doesn't give me pleasure to leave negative reviews but I firmly believe in HONEST reviews and this book was not at all to my liking so, if you're the author who's just happened on my review, I urge you to look away now. This is NOT going to be pretty!
This really was THE most overblown, melodramatic, sentimental piece of romantic claptrap that has been my displeasure to read these past couple of years. It is seriously cheesy and I mean MASSIVELY CHEESY and it has the feel of something Mills & Boon might have churned out thirty years ago without any consideration for the expectations or sensibilities of the modern reader. There are some really good Highlander romances out there and this ain't one of them!
I will give credit to the author that the idea of the story was good but the way it panned out was fairly preposterous. The characters were so one dimensional and wholly without depth that I hardly knew them by the time the story limped towards it's ridiculous conclusion and, for the most part, I just wanted to bitch slap the heroine. There's not great attention to historical detail either which I could just about live with until the author referred to 'garbage'. That's such an Americanism, it's not true, and it's not even a word commonly used in the modern day British vernacular let alone that of medieval Scotland.
The story begins with our heroine Madeline MacDonald living with her step-brother, Kenneth, the Laird after her parents have died. Kenneth wants her to marry a neighbouring Laird, Niles Comming, and she refuses and he regularly beats her to within an inch of her life for her refusal. In fact he's almost killed her twice we find out as the story continues. Niles has subjected her to a tortuous rape and Madeline just takes all this stoically without a whimper, accepting this as her lot. I think this is meant to show strength of character but she just comes across as a doormat. She's painted so good, so kind and so gentle that she just irritated the hell out of me - she's so amazingly wonderful and without fault that she should be sainted. She even rescues a couple of fallen children through the agony of a broken arm. *rolls eyes* I did mention the melodrama, right? I wanted to rip her halo right off and batter her with it.
Her hero, another neighbouring Laird, Alexander Grant rescues her from her step-brother and intends to claim her as his bride. He, of course, falls in love with her sainted beauty the minute he sets eyes on her but I really couldn't see what he saw in her. He's portrayed as the big, alpha, protective hero and she is such a wimp - she would hardly be suitable for him. Of course, he's shown as wanting to claim and protect this delicate little flower. I never really felt that I got to know Alex at all - he's yet another one-dimensional character in this sorry saga.
And, as for the villains -purrlease! Both Kenneth and Niles are bad to the bone, bad for sake of being bad and the nearest thing to a pantomime villain that I think you'll find in romantic fiction. They're pretty much like a stereotypical ACME villain from a looney tunes cartoon. They appear to have very little motivation for the extreme evilness, they just want to torture our poor feckless heroine and, when that motivation is finally revealed, my eyes just rolled out of my head! GAH!
Books usually play out vividly in my imagination as I read like a movie but this one completely failed to do that for me - they were just shadowy figures that never really took shape. There's absolutely no character development and the entire story revolves around Madeline and her plight and absolutely nothing else. Everyone either wants to batter her or adore her and no one else has any background to their story other than her. It all feels horribly contrived and it's totally a cookie-cutter historical romance - alpha hero, delicate heroine who must be protected from the evil henchmen on her trail.
As you can probably tell, it really didn't work for me.
I'm not going to write a lengthy review here as this book is years old and there are already so many reviews but I will say that it's a highly enjoyabI'm not going to write a lengthy review here as this book is years old and there are already so many reviews but I will say that it's a highly enjoyable Highlander romance with some supernatural time travel elements mixed in and plenty of humour as well as a well-planned and surprisingly complex plot.
Drustan is a wonderful hero and I very much enjoyed seeing him waking in the 21st century after sleeping for hundreds of years and experiencing cars and lighters and such like. The time travel elements were enmeshed beautifully and Gwen is a wonderfully, determined kickass heroine with a real backbone.
Well, it's been a LONG time since I picked up a book from Monica McCarty's Highland Guard series. My last review for the Viper was October 2011 - threWell, it's been a LONG time since I picked up a book from Monica McCarty's Highland Guard series. My last review for the Viper was October 2011 - three and a half years ago. This is a fabulous series and Monica is possibly the queen of the Highlander Romance genre so I'm racking my brains as to why I left it this long to catch up. I think I just fell out with the whole historical romance thing after a couple of lacklustre heroines (pet peeve in a novel) and moved on but the TV adaptation of Outlander has rekindled that love that once burned so bright and I'm back with a vengeance and now Monica has four novels and a novella for me to totally binge on. Happy Days!
Now, that I'm back in the fold as it were, I was eager to get back into this series and when I read the blurb, I was struck by comparisons to Jane Austen's Persuasion. A young couple very much in love, a match frowned on my her family, she turns him down and years pass before they meet again and when they do that passion is still there but unacknowledged by the man himself. Persuasion is my FAVOURITE Jane Austen so I hesitated no longer and dived straight in. Like Austen's Captain Wentworth, I was half agony, half hope as Monica ramps up the angst factor in this one.
Our heroine, Helen, is still very much in love with Magnus who has now grown into a huge and fearsome warrior and they meet again on her wedding day to his best friend. AWKWARD! But, when her new husband is killed just days after their nuptials, Helen eventually sets about attempting to convince Magnus that her love has held fast and that she made a mistake in refusing him all those years ago and in agreeing to marry William. Magnus is having none of it - a connection to him would put her in danger and he had promised her dying husband to watch over her, after all.
I loved this book - there's just so much going on, so much suspense. The story zips along at an incredible pace and I was enthralled from beginning to end. Helen's attempts to get Magnus to succumb to her charms at once made me laugh and squirm. The big warrior is very stoic and resolutely refuses to notice her and even flirts with a serving wench at one point as we're subjected to a highly angsty love story. There's so many secrets between these two, explanations as yet untold and so many obstacles in their way that sometimes a match between them seemed impossible and yet Helen was SO determined and I had to admire her tenacity as she went after the man she loved and tried to prove that true love really does conquer all.
Magnus - be still my beating heart. What a fearsome warrior this man is and how hard did I fall for him. I loved his steadfastness, his determination to do what is right and to honour his King and his oath despite that this could quite possibly cost him his only chance at true happiness. He's fiercely loyal, incredibly strong - a true Highland hunk and yet another fantastic addition to the Highland Guard Hall of Fame.
Alongside the fabulous romance, is a story rich with skulduggery, deception and treachery as Helens' abilities to heal see her taken along with the King on his progress accompanied by Magnus. I did work out who the traitor was early on but this just increased my expectation of a thrilling finale which I definitely got.
My only problem with this book is the secondary romance - I am really NOT a huge fan of this in romance novels. I did love their story but I would much rather that this was just hinted at and told in a novella at a later date. Theirs was a beautiful story which didn't get a huge amount of page time and served mostly to distract me from the main event of Helen and Magnus and I would have preferred to get deeper into this at a later date and enjoy their story rather than rushing over their pages to get back to the main storyline. I would have loved to have read a novella dedicated to these two.
For fans of the Highland Guards we've fallen for in previous novels, we get to see them all again with their women and catch up with what is going on in their relationships and I hope to see plenty of Magnus and Helen in the subsequent novels in this series.
I have to confess to a rabid crush on Gregor 'Arrow' MacGregor and I'm dying to read his book. He's like the pin up of the Highland Guard and if Scottish maidens had posters on their chamber walls, it would be of this man. Supposedly, he has the most gorgeous face in all of Scotland and not to mention that the guy is well hench and an awesome warrior. I am all anticipation!! Bring. It. On.
While this is not quite the swash-buckling, bodice-ripper that the title and the cover implies, it is actually quite a soulful highland romance and anWhile this is not quite the swash-buckling, bodice-ripper that the title and the cover implies, it is actually quite a soulful highland romance and an enjoyable and engrossing read.
Bram MacKinlock left his new bride Nairna on their wedding night without consummating their marriage in a fit of jingoistic fervour to go and fight the English with his father and brothers. His father was killed and he was taken captive and held for 7 years and everyone believed him to be dead. Now he has finally escaped and returned to reclaim his bride and rejoin his family but everything has changed. Most of all him.
In his absence, Nairna has remarried, lost her virginity and been once again widowed but she has never forgotten Bram and her love for him but they are both very different people now and a large part of this book is given over to these two getting to know one another again, Bram overcoming his PTSD and attempting to rebuild his clan which has fell into rack and ruin in his absence.
This is rather a slow burner but it did just about enough hold my attention. The character development is well done and I found myself invested enough in these two to want them to rekindle that fire that had once burned so bright. They have a lot of near misses, passion burning and almost getting there before one of them turns away - highly frustrating! More than once I wanted to scream at them to get on with it but I did really like them both and completely understood and sympathised with their situation and felt their pain keenly.
The one thing I can't stand in a Highland romance is a wimpy doormat of a heroine and, thankfully, Nairna is about as far removed from this as it's possible to be. She's determined to stand by her man, to help him rebuild his clan and to try and help him through his pretty obvious PTSD and staggering guilt that he carries. She's as strong as it gets and is exactly what Bram needs. He, for his part, is consumed by guilt at the continuing incarceration of his younger brother, Callum, and the death of his father - he's scarred both physically and emotionally and he's got a lot of healing to do and it was really very engaging to watch how his relationship with Nairna helped him to do this.
As this is the first in a series, there's great world building going on also with a fair few MacKinloch's waiting to tell their stories to us. I'm definitely going to read through the rest of the series. Alex and his troubled marriage is up next although it's definitely the silent Callum and the feisty french Marguerite that I'm most looking forward to.