Genre: Historical Romance
Series: McCabe Trilogy #1
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Page Count: 368
Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.
Though the illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril, only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband finds her craving his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.
Having seen nothing but glowing, usually 5-star, reviews for this trilogy from my fellow book buddies, my expectations going into it were through the stratosphere. I thought it was set to be the best Highlander romance I'd ever read (and I've read one or two). And I have to say that although I wasn't quite as amazed as I anticipated, no doubt due to my overly high expectations, it is one of the better ones I've read and will join the handful that I would recommend as a good examples of the genre.
The characters were nice which is the first and most important thing to contend with in any romance novel for me. You just can't enjoy a romance if you dislike one or both of the main characters, or if you like them but then they do something you find unforgivable- that's often even more disappointing. Obviously, this being a historical, you have to make allowances for the accepted social behaviours of the time. The way women were treated and viewed by men and vice versa. And also, our male lead here is the Laird of the clan, which brings in a whole 'nother heap of responsibilities and a requirement for obeisance from the lady.
I am so glad I was born when I was. I would NOT fare well in 12th century Scotland. This is a simple, undeniable fact.
I really liked Mairin's character. Her stubbornness, her fierce protective motherly instincts to a child that wasn't her own and that she'd only just met. And she made me smile with her misguided attempts at telling Ewan about the do's and don't's of "loving" from the wealth of knowledge she'd garnered from a nun during her decade long sequestration.
“She said nothing the entire time she was with you? Let nothing slip? Think, Alaric. She had to have said something. It simply isn't a woman's nature to be silent for prolonged periods of time.”
As I mentioned, Ewan is Laird of clan McCabe, a clan that is current not doing too well after being almost obliterated in a battle 8 years ago. At the start of the book he's also a frantic father who's son has been missing for days, so you'll forgive him, as I did, for being initially a bit gruff and unfriendly. He's also quite arrogant and smug, but ultimately, he's was a great hero and I grew to like him very much.
The plot centres around Mairin, who's been in hiding for 10 years to protect her from anyone who would seek to wed her to gain the dowry and lands she's set to inherit along with her first-born child. She is the niece of the current King, and although bastard-born, has been acknowledged, granted this large inheritance, and also branded (tattooed) so that she would be easily identifiable.
So, naturally, all this makes her a very hot commodity for any power-hungry men who seek extra lands and wealth, and the story starts out with her being kidnapped on the orders of one such man.
As villains go, he was pretty disgusting. A vile, manipulative, repugnant man. And although I detested him, I actually wish the part he played towards the end of the novel had been extended a little to create more tension. It all seemed to end too easily after the initial build-up.
I definitely intend to finish the trilogy. I was more than intrigued by the daughter of the McDonald clan that was introduced in this book. She is a would-be warrior and has promised to marry brother number two: Alaric McCabe. That sounds like it's going to be a fun book as she is more my kind of gal. Can't wait!
4 Stars! ★★★★