Beloved Warrior
Grade : C-

Patricia Potter has all of her Ts crossed and Is dotted in the final installment of her Beloved series. There can be no argument that she can write well, with wonderful description, good pacing, and three demensional characters. However, in romance, if there isn’t a spark between the leads, and the plot is of the humdrum variety, things go down hill quickly.

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Patrick is the elder MacLean brother and thought long dead by his brothers in Scotland. But many years ago Patrick was taken captive by the Spanish and eventually sold into slavery. He's been an oarsman for the wealthy Mendoza family for years now and life is brutal and cruel in the bowels of the ship. He has an unspoken comraderie with a few of his fellow slaves, and when the chance is there, the slaves break free of their chains and stage a mutiny against the Spanish frigate’s crew.

Only a few days into her journey to marry a wealthy viscount in England, Juliana Mendoza listens on as the crew of her uncle’s ship – and her uncle - is slaughtered by the slaves. She is frightened for her life, but is championed by a gruff Patrick, who has taken charge of the motley crew of men.

They head for Scotland, hoping Patrick’s family is still in residence and willing to purchase the ships cargo. Each man will take an equal cut and go on to make a fresh start in the world. Juliana’s presence hampers any clear getaway. They cannot let her live lest she tell of the mutiny, but Patrick feels too much guilt and attraction to let her die though he doesn’t know what to do with her. Once at home amongst a horde of MacLeans, he falls in love with her, but that too is hopeless since she is his enemy and already betrothed. Juliana too loves Patrick, but there is much at stake if she doesn’t marry as intended.

Most romances I’ve read that include a captive/hostage plot have the leads sparring off at one another with the hate turning into passion. Juliana might be Patrick’s captive for the most part, but their few meetings are almost as polite as an afternoon tea with your grandmother. Kind of dull. Well, there was the time Juliana attacked Patrick with a dagger, but that was early on with no repeats of that kind of excitement.

Patrick’s back story and transformation from a slave to the Laird of Inverleigh is fascinating to watch. The author isn’t weak-kneed when describing the treatment of the slaves or the battle for the ship. This is strong-stomach stuff, so be prepared. I already mentioned Ms. Potter’s strength for vivid descriptions. This can be taken as good or bad, but I like that touch of realism and grit.

Do be prepared for the Return of the Couples. Yes, the previous heroes and heroines are back and sickeningly sweet at that. I did read the previous installment, Beloved Stranger, and would rather have Lachlan and Kimbra mentioned in passing as living a happy life with forty-two children than to constantly be seeing Lachlan’s eyes glow with love towards his wife and Kimbra gaze adoringly at Lachlan. With a tone that is decidedley melancholy and gritty, the saccharine MacLean couples seriously disturb the vibe.

Besides the Return of the Couples, nothing really bothered me. However, nothing excited me either. If I had to pick one word to sum it up? Blah.

Reviewed by Lisa Gardineer
Grade : C-

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : April 24, 2007

Publication Date: 2007

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Lisa Gardineer

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