The second son of a clan chief, John Brunson, at a young age, is sent to live with the royal court. He's always resented the fact that his father seem...moreThe second son of a clan chief, John Brunson, at a young age, is sent to live with the royal court. He's always resented the fact that his father seemed to have no interest in him, to only pay attention to his older brother who would one day become clan chief. He hasn't seen his family or home in 10 years. Now his king has sent him back home to gather his family's men to join the king's war against a traitor. His reception home is a cold one. He finds out his father has recently died at the hands of a rival clan. His brother is now clan chief and has no interest in helping the king. The Brunson clan is focused on revenge.
Cate Gilnock is also bent on revenge, and she shares the Brunson's enemy. After the murder of her own father and the brutal taking of her innocence she turned to the Brunson clan for sanctuary. John's father promised her revenge. She hides herself in a tough exterior, never letting anybody get really close. She is learning to fight so she will never be vulnerable in any type of situation. She ends up being John's answer in getting his brother to send their men to help the king. If John can persuade her to give up her drive for revenge, then his brother would be free to help the king.
It's almost comical John's thought process at the beginning. He thinks it will be really easy to persuade Cate. He's used to women throwing themselves at him at court. He thinks first to seduce her into following his will. Cate's not going for it. She trusts very few men and in the beginning John does nothing to persuade her he is worthy of her trust. That trust slowly builds, though, once he promises to help her with her revenge and they spend more time together.
John had to grow on me too. I thought he was a little too cocky at first. I wasn't sure if I was going to ever like him. But I think it was his way of dealing with his insecurities with his family. Part of him wants nothing to do with them, to return to his king. And another part of him wants to prove to his family that he is still a Brunson and belongs with his family.
Once John gets past his insecurities, I started to really like him. Cate did too. The more Cate starts to trust John, the more he is able to break through her shell. She's really vulnerable, but determined. Cate vows never to be put in a position again where she feels helpless, where she won't fight. I liked that drive in her. Really John and Cate end up helping each other get past their problems and insecurities. Trust and respect become major factors in their relationship. But it wasn't all seriousness. John ended up having a cute flirty side too.
I do have to say something about the cover. I adore it. I love the way both models are looking out towards us. I love the colors and the almost suggestive way she is holding his sword. But Cate's hair is short throughout the book and she mostly dresses in men's clothing. The cover Cate does not really match book Cate. That bothered me a little.
Much like the previous book in this series, the heroine, Genevieve McInnes, is dealing with being ostracized. In this case it's from the clan she's be...moreMuch like the previous book in this series, the heroine, Genevieve McInnes, is dealing with being ostracized. In this case it's from the clan she's been kidnapped into by the sadist son of the clan's leader. The whole clan is afraid of the guy, so instead of helping this young woman, they treat her like complete crap. They push their own insecurities and powerlessness onto her. It's pretty awful to watch. So not only is she being tormented by the guy who kidnapped her, but she is pretty much being spit on by his clan.
At the end of the last book this sadistic guy is killed and his father, the laird, runs off. Bowen Montgomery is appointed by his brother to run this McHugh clan until they can figure out what to do with them. Because of the way the clan treats Genevieve, he, at first, assumes she had willingly been the lover of the laird's son.
This romance really forms out of tragedy. Once Bowen learns the truth of Genevieve's kidnapping, he offers to take her home to her family. But Genevieve doesn't want her family to see her the way she is now. They think her dead, and she feels that is better than seeing their daughter scarred (physically and emotionally). The romance is slow, which I'm glad for. I just can't imagine Genevieve trusting anybody right away and quickly forming any attachments after what she had been through.
I like Bowen very much. Their are some misunderstandings between the two, but he does spend most of the book trying to help Genevieve, including helping her see she's worthy of her family. Genevieve shows her strength, even when she believes her self broken. She helps the clan that is still mostly treating her like crap. And she proves to be very useful when the keep is attacked.
I do really enjoy Banks' Scottish romances. This one is probably the darkest of the bunch. But it was lovely watching the heroine realize she doesn't need to hide from the world after what was done to her.
I was very happy when I saw Maya Banks was writing another highlander historical romance series. I really enjoyed her McCabe trilogy. She wrote such g...moreI was very happy when I saw Maya Banks was writing another highlander historical romance series. I really enjoyed her McCabe trilogy. She wrote such great characters, and she continues that trend at the start of this series.
Eveline Armstrong has not been able to hear ever since an accident falling off her horse. People, including her family, now assume she is simple rather than deaf and Eveline, instead of coming clean, uses their misconception to get out of marrying a sadistic neighbor. Her family has a huge rivalry with the Montgomery clan. The king decides the only way to stop their fighting is to marry Eveline to the head of the Montgomery clan, Graeme. Eveline sees it as an opportunity at a new life. She thought she would never have a chance to marry while using the charade to stay unmarried to the sadistic neighbor.
Graeme is furious when he hears he is to marry Eveline. He has heard rumors of her simpleness and assumes he will never be able to have children with her. She hasn't spoken since her accident, but has taught herself to read lips. Though she can speak and wants to, she is afraid she will sound stupid and is not really sure how to start, so at first stays silent around Graeme and his clan. She also has to deal with extreme animosity from many of the Montgomery clan. They do not trust her loyalty and make things very difficult for her. The sadistic neighbor also makes an appearance and complicates things even more.
Banks did a great job with a deaf heroine. Eveline doesn't speak for half the book, and Banks was able to still present a complex character. She's innocent, but tough. She's willing to make the best out of a new, hostile situation. I really felt for her, and grew just as frustrated as Eveline with her new clan. Graeme is very patient with her, and at first almost treats her like a little kid. But he starts to realize there is more to her and she is definitely not simple. Graeme fights his lustful feelings for her, thinking them at first depraved, but his resolve gets tested as Eveline expresses her interests. He can also be a bit gruff, but really, he is very good to her.
This book has a familiar plot - the hero kidnaps the bride-to-be of the man he seeks revenge against. Elspeth Stewart's wedding ceremony to Lachlan Dr...moreThis book has a familiar plot - the hero kidnaps the bride-to-be of the man he seeks revenge against. Elspeth Stewart's wedding ceremony to Lachlan Drummond is interrupted by "Mad Rob" McLaren as he rushes in on his horse, grabs her up, and tells her father and bridegroom they may come for her in one month. Rob aims to humiliate Drummond for his involvement in the death of his wife two years before. With all of Rob's planning, he really never considered how his kidnapped bride would react to her abduction. She does not go meekly. Right away she plots on ways to get back to her father and puts plenty of kinks in Rob's plans.
As they travel to his home, their attraction and appreciation for each other grows. Rob starts to see Elspeth beyond means to his revenge. Though innocent, she is smart and bit brassy. He also must deal with the guilt towards his dead wife because of his growing affections towards Elspeth. The more time Elspeth spends with Rob, the more she finds he is not really "mad", but devastated by the events that shortened the marriage to his wife. He, of course, very much blames himself for her death. Rob and Elspeth have some really great moments together. They are sweet and fascinating as they explored their growing affections.
The characters are generally well drawn out. I wasn't completely impressed with the bad guys, especially the one that ends up showing up in Rob's home. That person just seemed over the top evil and rude for not good enough reasons. Otherwise I enjoyed Rob and Elspeth and the people who helped them along the way.
Kidnapping for revenge is a familiar plot point, but Mason and Marlowe didn't make the story boring or predictable. The loch chapters were my favorite with some great dialogue between Rob and Elspeth and a little bit of action (in more than one way). The dreams sequences were also a lovely touch.
Mason and Marlowe also add a little supernatural element to the story. Elspeth has the Sight with unpredictable glimpses of the future. This gift ends up helping her, but then is used against her at the end. I thought they used her gift well in the story.
Alex and Laren have been married for five years, but the last three years they have grown apart. Alex is chief of his clan, and spends the majority of...moreAlex and Laren have been married for five years, but the last three years they have grown apart. Alex is chief of his clan, and spends the majority of his time with his people and not with Laren. And Laren has been keeping a secret from Alex that takes her away from their home for hours at a time. After their home is destroyed and Laren is hurt during an attack by the English, they start re-assessing their relationship and what they mean to each other.
In the majority of romances I have read the two main characters either haven't met each other yet when the story begins or they know each other, but they haven't started a romantic relationship yet. So it was a little different for me to begin reading the story five years into their marriage, especially a loving relationship that has fallen apart. I felt like I had missed the beginning of the story. But with flashbacks we slowly learn what had put a wedge in their marriage. We see the mistakes they made with each other. I ended up really liking the set up.
Normally it is frustrating in a romance when the two protagonists don't communicate with each other and there are misunderstandings. Authors do this for added drama, and I usually can't imagine two people acting like that in real life. But this book was different. Because of the circumstances, I could imagine this lack of communication happening in a real life marriage. I enjoyed reading Alex and Laren's re-growing affections, even with the setbacks throughout the story because of miscommunication. They had to learn to trust each other and their affections once again.
My one real complaint was the last fourth of the book did drag a little for me. I guess I was more interested in the relationship than the conflict with the English. Though I did enjoy when Laren finally understands Alex and something about herself. It was a satisfying ending.
I really liked the concept of this book - Scottish warriors fighting against demons. Faelan is betrayed while on a mission in New York and ends up in...moreI really liked the concept of this book - Scottish warriors fighting against demons. Faelan is betrayed while on a mission in New York and ends up in a Time Vault for 150 years. Bree is the one who discovers him and wakes him up from his very long sleep. Neither trusts the other, but they have a strong attraction right from the start. They discover the demon who put Faelan in the Time Vault is still in the neighborhood and has very evil plans (what a surprise!).
Characters were kind of meh for me, especially Faelan. He takes until the very end to trust Bree, and because of this does not treat her the greatest. And even though most of the story went back and forth with the views of Bree and Faelan, I never really connected with either or completely understood their emotions.
My one other complaint is the storytelling was a little muddled in places. Parts were confusing and I had to re-read some paragraphs. A few transitions were too jumpy and not smooth at all.
I'm giving it 3 stars, leaning towards 4. I liked the concept and world building enough that I will probably read the next book in the series.(less)
Every once in a while I crave a romance involving a hot Scottish Highlander and some time travel. This series by Melissa Mayhue usually solves that cr...moreEvery once in a while I crave a romance involving a hot Scottish Highlander and some time travel. This series by Melissa Mayhue usually solves that craving. Some of the books are better than others, though.
The hero and heroine were fine. Colin is from early 14th century Scotland. All of his energy is bent on seeing Scotland free from English control. Abby lives in present day Colorado and is finishing her studies to be an archaeologist. She is about to spend a couple months in Scotland at an archaeological dig. Again, I was thought they were fine, but I did not become very attached to either of them or their relationship. I especially found their finally coming together and realizing their love for each other pretty anti-climatic.
But I enjoyed the fact that the book starts out with both characters in their respective times but they meet in the present and then go into the past. Usually you know when Mayhue will leave her characters, but I wasn't sure with this one. I really liked how it ended.(less)