Come the Morning
Twelfth century Scotland is a wild and brutal place. Between the usual skirmishes, there is always the problem of Viking marauders. King David has been very careful to cultivate what relationships he could with some Vikings, but others continue to try and take the land. Because of this, the king tends to choose alliances carefully. The marriage the king decrees for Waryk Graham and Mellyora MacAdin is one of these carefully chosen matches. The stage is set for a pretty rousing romantic adventure between the two, but unfortunately for this reviewer, the story fell far short of its mark.
After the death of her father, Mellyora is summoned to the king. Mellyora has her life all mapped out and believes that the king will allow her to marry her childhood sweetheart Ewan and rule Blue Isle, her home. She feels if she can just reason with the king, he will see things her way. King David sees things one way – his own. Mellyora’s father Adin was a Viking and the king fears that this connection may open him up to an invasion now that Adin is dead. He wants to put Blue Isle in the hands of someone he trusts completely, Waryk. Once Mellyora arrives at the king’s home and realizes that she cannot sway him, she decides that the only way to reason with the king is to leave his hold and go to her uncle Daro, a Viking who is nearby. What she does not realize is that this will be considered an act of treason by the king. Vikings were only warily trusted and for her to run to her Viking family is a direct slap in the face to the king. Right here, the story began to fall apart. I had a really hard time believing that Mellyora did not realize the extent of her actions. She is presented as an extremely intelligent and competent heroine, so it seemed unlikely that she would be unaware of the consequences of her actions.
Waryk, who is also on his way to the king’s hold, has stopped to spend the night by himself near the river when Mellyora tumbles into his path. She mistakes Waryk for a servant and hires him to take her to her uncle. This starts a chain of events that very nearly kills them both; they even come close to killing each other. Waryk doesn’t realize at first that he is to be married to Mellyora, but he makes her pay for all her mischief once he does. But Waryk has always wanted a home and a family. Against his better judgement, he realizes he wants to share his life with Mellyora.
In addition to Mellyora’s antics, there is someone out to get Waryk and he will use any means necessary to see him suffer. This includes using Mellyora as bait. This mystery person manages to make it look like Mellyora and her uncle are planning to get rid of Waryk and keep Blue Isle for themselves. Waryk has a very difficult time trusting his new bride, with good reason. This is just one more impediment to their love.
The characters are both flawed. Waryk is a likable hero but throughout a good deal of the book I felt that he was too good for the heroine. Mellyora is not only headstrong, but selfish as well. She never thinks that the consequences of her actions may get others in trouble. For instance, she doesn’t stop to think that running to her uncle could very well get him killed for treason. She seems constantly surprised by the trouble she finds herself in – yet it’s usually her fault. Towards the end of the novel, I found myself liking Mellyora just a bit more. She felt insecure because of the changes at her castle, which made her a more sympathetic character. At this point, Waryk became more insensitive and annoying. I found myself wishing these two people would just talk to each other and stop their endless bickering.
I think my biggest problem with the book is that it just seemed to meander. There was a lot going on but nothing ever seemed to spark to life. If you’re a Shannon Drake fan, you might be more likely enjoy this book, but for me, the novel was more than a little flat.