Publication date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Avon Romance
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Be prepared to fall in love with Lynsay Sands's new Scottish romance! It is quite a mix of tender romance, sizzling passion, and dangerous intrigue, all smashed up in one entertaining story. I'm happy to report that Sands has not lost her humorous touch with historicals, nor her trademark originality when it comes to characterization.
Annabel, about to take her vows as a nun, is issued home by her mother to marry her elder sister Kate's betrothed, laird Ross MacKay, as Kate had previously eloped with the stable master's son. Full of trepidation, Annabel is surprised at the gentleness her rugged new husband displays towards her, and all the pleasure found in Ross's arms. Their happiness is, however, constantly tested by a mysterious adversary who seemed bent on harming Annabel, but whose presence had the ironic (or perhaps not) effect of bringing the two closer together.
There is a lot to love in this book, from the wonderful hero and heroine to the intense plot that twists and turns unexpectedly, never creating a single dull moment. Annabel is such am adorable person, who managed to be sweet and charming despite having a mother who sent her off to a nunnery at the age of fourteen, complaining constantly of her failures and lack of beauty; it's a miracle Annabel could think about her family without contempt! It is equally wonderful when Ross recognizes all the gold in Annabel, and instantly takes a liking to her. He was always fair and kind to Annabel, providing a strong support from which she can draw strength and become her own person. Underneath all those rough manners, Ross's kind-hearted soul drew his clansmen and Annabel like a beacon, and his obvious love for Annabel throughout the book is agonizingly sweet. It was a delight to see, by the end of the book, how much Annabel had grown in confidence and courage, and how much Ross's love had aided her growth.
I must also applaud the author for her excellent crafting of the villain, whom I had least expected (and I had contrived quite a few theories) and found its prescience altogether conducive to Annabel and Ross's relationship, albeit with less patience. The action was fast-paced and intense at times, and I absolutely loved all the humor interspersed in the more languid scenes ("Thank god it's Thursday!"). All in all, I found this to be a wonderful, delightful read, and highly recommend it to all fans of Lynsay Sands; for those who have not read one of her books, you are missing out and this one does not disappoint!
Rating: 4 tulips