The Kindling Heart by Carmen Caine Publication date: April 10, 2011 Publisher: Bento Box Books Series: Royal Entourage #4 Amazon| B&N |Goodreads
~~Reviewed by Debbie~~
THE KINDLING HEART is a wonderful start to THE HIGHLAND HEATHER AND HEARTS SCOTTISH ROMANCE Series. Carmen Caine has started this series with story full of intrigue, adventure, danger and romance.
Bree didn’t understand! What had she done now? It wasn’t unusual for her stepfather to be angry with her, but why was he calling her “whore, harlot”? She knew it would lead to another beating, while her mother looked the other way.
To avoid an arranged marriage, Bree is convinced by her friend Afraig, to leave with Bree’s long, lost father, Domnall. On the journey to his home, she begins to like him, to trust him. Believing he wants her to be with him. Just as she is feeling safe, her father marries her to Ruan.
Ruan has returned to Skye to seek peace. Peace from the follies of his youth. Even though he was fostered out when he was younger, his heart has always been in Skye. Having to endure the bad blood between him, his brothers and Tormod, his oldest brother and Laird of the clan, he still returned. The strong desire to protect his sister Merry, was foremost in his mind. He hadn’t intended to divide the clan. But because of Tormod, marrying off Merry to an enemy clan, Ruan divided the clan by rescuing her from her abusive husband. He could not leave Merry in the hands of his enemy, she was less than 10 years old, too young to wed. In retaliation of going against him, Tormod arranges a marriage for Ruan. Not just a marriage, but to the most scandalous woman in Scotland. She is twice his age, big as a horse and has many illegitimate children. In order to secure Merry’s safety, Ruan agrees to the marriage. What does he care? He had no plans to ever have a wife and he can be gone, never having to even see her. He long ago decided he was through with women.
Domnell and Bree arrive on Ruan’s wedding day. To Ruan’s surprise, his bride has changed to a green-eyed beauty, not at all what he was expecting. His contracted bride died and Domnell decided that Ruan would be a good husband for Bree. That’s why she took the place of the contracted bride. Once more Bree feels betrayed. Even if her father says he has her best interest in mind, the marriage starts out with conflict. Ruan doesn’t want a wife. Bree is filled with anger, not trusting another man ever again. But marriage is the least of their troubles.
From the start of the marriage, THE KINDLING HEART only weaves more of an intriguing story. Attempts on Ruan’s life, without him knowing why, the jealous, crazy Laird wife attacking Bree, leers from Tormad toward Bree and jealousy of Merry towards Bree. For the safety of them, all Ruan decides to travel to his foster home. Will the three of them arrive alive? While traveling, will Ruan and Bree finally learn to trust each other? Or once they are safe, will they each go their own way?
I enjoyed this story of Bree and Ruan. Bree, is a very strong woman. She has survived many beatings and betrayals that have convinced her all men are untrustworthy. She has still goodness in her, ready to help all, except men. Ruan is a tender hearted man, just wanting to live peacefully. He has given up on women. He feels unworthy and desires to spend the rest of his days on his beloved Skye.
Carmen has written a book full of mysterious twists and turns.There are so many facets to this book. I loved going from one dangerous situation to another, all the while wondering how it would end. THE KINDLING HEART is an emotional journey that I would not miss. I look forward to reading more of her books in this
*Review copy complimentary of the publisher via Netgalley; yes it’s an honest review