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Friday, September 27, 2013

Reviews: Highlanders: The Warrior and the Rose\The Forbidden Highlander\Rescued by the Highland Warrior (anthology)

Highlanders: The Warrior and the Rose\The Forbidden Highlander\Rescued by the Highland Warrior (MacKinloch Clan, #3.5)
Title: Highlanders: The Warrior and the Rose\The Forbidden Highlander\Rescued by the Highland Warrior by Brenda Joyce, Michelle Willingham, Terri Brisbin
Publication date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin
Goodreads | Amazon

HIGHLANDERS is a fantastic anthology by three original voices in Scottish historical romance. In all three stories, the romance is wonderfully developed and written with lyrical, moving prose.

Brenda Joyce's The Warrior and the Rose sets up the stage for her upcoming series, and focuses more on the historical background behind Clan Dougall (the Comyn family) and Clan Donald. Lady Juliana MacDougall is a brave and strong woman, whose goal was to protect her nephews in the midst of clan war, when Alasdair Og took them hostage. Juliana's display of courage towards Alasdair, and Alasdair's growing understanding that Juliana was just an innocent caught in the war lit the sparks between them. The conclusion of their love was sweet and provided an interesting interlude amidst the continuing war.

In The Forbidden Highlander by Terri Brisbin, Elizabeth MacLerie is in love with James Murray, who is equally in love with her but honor bound to marry her friend, Ciera Robertson. Ciera is also miserable in the arranged marriage, as she loves Tavis MacLerie, who in turn loves her. The mismatched couple is introduced within the first pages of the story, its setup complete, clamoring for a predictable ending. The resolution is naturally obvious, but having the characters already being in love by the beginning of the story does not leave a great deal to tell, aside from how much James was willing to throw away his betrothal in order to marry his love.

Rescued by the Highland Warrior by Michelle Willingham is my favorite out of the three. With the death of her husband, Celeste de Laurent, Lady of Eiloch, is given a fortnight by her devious brother-in-law and his wife to prove her pregnancy else be rid of a home. In order to protect herself and her younger sister from poverty, she decided to take a lover in order to conceive, eventually arriving at the MacKinloch keep, where she again meets her only love, Dougal MacKinloch. Dougal is bitter towards Celeste for abandoning a future with him, but as his clan grows fond of Celeste, he cannot help the streak of jealousy within him. While he understands Celeste's choosing to marry for security, it took him a long time to get over his bitterness and give their future another try. Celeste's mental fortitude is admirable, as is her ability to sacrifice her happiness for that of her sister's future. The love between Dougal and Celeste never diminished, and their ending was akin to two lost souls coming to find each other again; a sweet and moving story.

Rating: 4 tulips

*ARC via The Romance Reviews
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