08 May 2008

Highland Barbarian by Hannah Howell

Sir Artan Murray was right when he decided that the dying old man who bid him collect his niece didn’t know her at all. The furious woman facing him is neither “sweet” nor “biddable.” She demands the brawny Highlander return her to the wedding party from which he took her. But Artan has no intention of allowing a so spirited and bewitching creature to endure a loveless marriage to a ruthless lord for her clan’s sake. He aims to woo the lass and to show her that true love also yields unforgettable pleasure…

Cecily Donaldson knows a bond forged by danger and desperation cannot endure. But Artan’s touch leaves her breathless, and she knows this to be her one chance to experience true passion before an arranged marriage seals her fate. Yet once begun, passion cannot be denied … nor can a love with the promise to change everything…

My Thoughts

Angus MacReith needs an heir so he turns to Sir Artan Murray, a distant relative who once fostered at Glascreag. He instructs Artan to go to the Lowlands and fetch his orphaned niece Cecily, promising that if Artan marries her, he will inherit Glascreag.

While not keen on marriage to a stranger, and a lowlander at that, Artan honours this ‘dying’ man’s wish and journeys to the lowlands, only to find himself landing in the middle of Cecily’s wedding celebrations. Cecily’s relatives do not welcome his arrival and soon, attempts on Artan’s life are made.

Artan is pleasantly surprised by her appearance, admires her feistiness and is angered by how she is treated by her family. Like other members of his clan, it doesn’t take him long to realize that she is his soul mate. He also quickly realizes that all is not as it should be and in order to protect her, kidnaps her and returns to Glascreag. On their journey he informs her of everything he has learned and begins to woo her in order to make her his .

The book ends about a hundred pages too soon. At this point her guardians are exposed for the murderers they are, Sir Fergus, her former betrothed, is dealt with, and their love is declared. This is where it went weird. Artan is injured and Cecily completely changes her behaviour and makes a promise to God that she will become the perfect wife if He allows Artan to live. Sadly, her definition of a perfect wife is a result of the lessons taught to her by her former guardian. It just doesn’t make sense, especially when we consider the kind of woman her guardian was. On top of this she knows that Artan loves her for who she is so why want to change? Even the characters in the book were annoyed with her!

Overall a decent book but the ending leaves much to be desired.

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