Genre: Historical Romance
Series: MacKinloch Clan #3
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Page Count: 288
Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
After years of brutal torture, Callum MacKinloch is finally free of his captors—but his voice is still held prisoner. He'd never let anyone hear him scream. Although Lady Marguerite de Montpierre's chains may be invisible, they threaten to tie her to a loveless and cruel marriage. When Marguerite discovers Callum waiting to die, her heart aches for the warrior beneath the suffering—but they can have no future. Yet she is the one woman with the power to tame the rage locked inside him. Maybe he can find another reason to live…for her.
This was a wonderful book. I have nothing but praise.
First of all, taking on the challenge of writing a character that is mute in the first place earns big bonus points with me, as it's quite the undertaking and I just thought it was handled superbly.
I have read a number of books where the lead male character, or hero, if you prefer, has been tortured and/or imprisoned. Often this leads to your character becoming a very angry, volatile, impossible to be around, kind of character that needs 'taming' by a female... Hm. This was very different, and I found it a lot more thought-provoking. In this case, our hero, Callum, has been imprisoned since he was just a boy of 12 (he's 19 when the book starts) and can barely remember anything but cruelty and suffering, and instead of lashing out, he has reverted inwards. He's mute, and hasn't spoken for over a year.
When you discover the cause, the thing that started his silence, it actually makes a lot of sense from a psychological point of view. He isn't physically incapable of speech, all the words are just jammed up inside and no matter how hard he tries, he can't bring them forth.
Our heroine, Marguerite, is a young maiden who's been betrothed to the man imprisoning Callum by arrangement with her father, the Duke. Callum would have expected her to be the same kind of ilk as her fiancé and show him nothing but scorn and distaste. Instead, after a particularly harsh flogging where he's been left to die out in the cold, he meets an angel. His angel.
This meeting, although brief, stays with Callum throughout the rest of his imprisonment, because it's the first kindness he's known in so long, and so unexpected. The image of Marguerite's face is the only thing that gets him through the days and nights to come.
I can't even begin to tell you what a sweet man Callum is. We have no dialogue from him, obviously, but the way he communicates through actions and small touches, and the thoughts from his point of view, are so unbelievably adorable. He has, quite understandably, put Marguerite on a pedestal as his saviour and wants nothing so much as to protect her for the rest of his life if she'd allow it. He feels he owes her his freedom and sanity both. But it's impossible. He's a penniless ex-slave, and she's a Duke's daughter. It can never be...
"I shouldn't let you do this, I know," she whispered.I confess I read this book out of series order, which I know is a crime punishable by severe finger-wagging, but I have to say I was never lost or confused at any point. It just makes me want to go back and read the story of the other two brothers, at least one of whom was also imprisoned in the same place. I plan to do that real soon.
He touched a finger to her lips, bidding her to be silent. Then he went down on one knee before her.
"What is it?" she asked, frowning at his position. But Callum took her hand and set it on his head, needing her to understand what he couldn't say.
Her hand moved against his wet hair and she sighed. "I know you're not going to hurt me."
Slowly, he stood and took her hands. He struggled to speak, trying to force the words out. I never thought I'd see you again. The desperate need for words tormented him, but nothing came forth. Marguerite saw his failure, but instead of offering sympathy, she stood on tiptoe, resting her cheek against his.