Shelly's Reviews > In Bed with a Highlander

In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
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's review
Apr 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: romance
Read from April 29 to May 02, 2012

I've heard lots of things about Maya Banks, some good and some not so good. This was my first by the author, so I went into it trying to remain neutral, so glad I did! This was not the best highlander book I've ever read, by far not the best, but it's also by far not the worst I've ever read.

The rundown: Mairin Stuart is the illegitimate daughter of the previous king, who would not publicly acknowledge her, but left her quite the dowry with an extremely valuable piece of property to give to her firstborn child that everyone wants. Since woman cannot own property if they married and it transfers to the husband, Mairin ran away to a nunnery at age 14 to hide from all those who just wanted to wed her, bed her, and get her pregnant. After that she figures they'll have no use for her and kill her or abandon her. Somehow a nasty laird Cameron finds her in the nunnery and drags her to his place to wed, picking up a stray boy along the way Mairin fiercely protects. When she refuses, Cameron beats her to within an inch of her life. Fortunately he knows if he does, he can't claim the land, and sends her to bed where he thinks she's too weak to try and escape. She really is, except the boy, Crispin and and old woman help them to escape anyway. Crispin runs into his uncle who has been looking for him, and brings the both of them to McCabe lands.

Mairin still doesn't want anyone to know who she is, and Crispin promises not to tell his dad, Laird Ewan McCabe. After a few days, a gossipy maid finds out the truth (she has some brand or tattoo) and tells Ewan. Seeing a solution to everyone's problems, his financial and hers safety, he proposes marriage. Eventually she agrees. The consummation was rather terrible, but it had to be done quickly before Cameron tried to kidnap her back. Two attempts are made on her life, only, wait a minute, they are attempts on Ewan's life, Mairin just happened to intercept them both times (arrow and poisoning). Everyone figures there's a traitor in the keep, but who is it?

When Ewan sends word to the new king, Mairin's never-before-met uncle, he is instead summoned to the king to prove he married Mairin, for Cameron has made a claim they were married and the marriage was consummated first. The king is nowhere in attendance, too sick, and the traitor comes forth to say she's being mistreated by Ewan, the king's agent is obviously siding with Cameron, and orders Mairin back to Cameron. Ewan errupts, but gets tossed in the dungeon. By some coincidence a guard lets them out, and he plans to steal back Mairin with his brothers, and oh, by the way guard, your king is being poisoned.

Ewan gets her back, they go back to McCabe lands, and the traitor somehow sneaks back and tries one more time to kill her. Mairin manages to get angry enough to defend herself and disarm the traitor. In the meantime, the guard at the castle saves the king and lo and behold, he's come to apologize and give her all her stuff.

My thoughts: For the most part, I thought this was pretty good. Like I said beforehand, not the best, certainly there were issues that I think could have been worked out, but it was entertaining enough that I wanted to keep reading, always a plus. Still, I'm glad I borrowed the series from the library, I don't think I'll be re-reading them any time soon.

Right from the beginning, I had issues with how Mairin was found. She had been in the same nunnery for years, yet Cameron's men found her quickly? Or had they been searching all nunneries? If so, why didn't the other orders warn about men looking for her? Did someone tip them off? It's not ever explained and it annoys me. The men went in ready to bash heads, did they bash heads in other nunneries when she wasn't produced? How did they know for sure when Mother Serenity claims no one by that name was there? It's really bugging me. Couldn't Mairin have been forewarned and moved from nunnery to nunnery, or even left Scotland until she found the husband she wanted. No one in France would have cared about a piece of Scottish property, right? A few more sentences to explain this away wouldn't have hurt.

Mairin was a good character, but she had some flaws that didn't jell with me. She was a naive girl raised in a nunnery who fiercely protected what was hers, but when asked what should be done with the traitor, she's brutal and vicious and downright horrible. Leave him out alive tied to a tree so the wolves and vultures will attack him? Yikes! You'd think growing up in a nunnery she'd have more pity for their horrible souls, but apparently she really just hid out, didn't participate in the religion. There was another time she was less than charitable, so it was really driven home - this woman is not to be messed with. She was good with Crispin, and I'm glad she found what she ultimately wanted, a warrior who would show her affection and protect her. Living in hiding is no way to live.

Ewan was good too, but I wish we could have had a little more back story on him. What was it like to rebuild his clan and keep, especially with an infant son? Did his wife die before they were attacked, during? I must have missed that part, and there was only a fleeting reference to her once by Ewan, no one else seemed to remember her, and Mairin apparently never thought to ask about Crispin's mother, only too happy to replace her. It felt a little disrespectful. Still, Ewan was a mostly good man, stern, but fair. Obviously rebuilding his army was his first priority, but he definitely needed Mairin's financial help, and was a little too quick to jump on it.

This may seem like a minor pet peeve, but I really dislike when authors use 'cutesy' names for sex. Throughout the whole book it was referred to as 'loving.' I could not help but roll my eyes every single time that word came up!

"Loving in the day time is not proper."

". . . that she would offer instruction on the matter of loving."

". . . he distracted her with loving."

Speaking of sex, the steam factor is pretty good, but not over the top like I've heard of this author. It was a little forgettable, except for when it was referred to as loving, lol.

Other than these minor issues, I still enjoyed the book. It felt light, quick and easy to just jump right in. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, especially Caelen's, a man scorned kinda book promises to be good reading. I hope it stands up!

I have no idea what Banks' contemporaries or erotica books are like, but if they are like this, I'll be picking them up too when I want an easy read. Nothing earth shattering here, but I think it's the way it's intended and not everything can be hard hitting like Diana Gabaldon or heart-felt like Julie Garwood. It's call diversity, right people?

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02/02/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Great review Shelly! Ive heard good & bad about this trilogy,thanks for your honest opinion..I wont cross them off my TBR pile :)

Shelly Thanks Sandi! I think you'll enjoy them.

Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] Lol, their 'lovin' part was ok I guess. ;) I loved the 2nd book the best! I see you talked about Mairin's very scintillating description of how to dump a body. That was so gross... yuk!

Shelly I know, so much for living in a convent! Do you know when I googled neamh alainn your review on GR shows up in the first few pages! I thought it was kinda neat.

message 5: by Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] (last edited May 08, 2012 04:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] It does? I never knew! lol Thanks for telling me Shelly. I try to make sure that I get the terms right. :)

PS: Couldn't help googling it, and et voila! lmao It's funny. :p

Shelly I thought it was neat! I'm following your blog too, I just started one too, mostly for a backup of my reviews.

Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] Let me check out yours! I started mine basically for the same purpose as yours. lol :)

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