Loving the Highlander
Janet Chapman has definitely got a good thing going with her Highlander trilogy and, if this second installment isn’t quite as compelling as the first entry, anyone who enjoyed the dynamic Greylen MacKeage and Charming the Highlander won’t want to miss this one.
Morgan MacKeage is one of several 12th century warriors transplanted in error when the wizard Darr brought Morgan’s brother Grey 800 years into the future. 32-year-old Morgan is a solitary man who spends a great deal of time in the remote areas near his family’s Maine ski resort, and he’s less than pleased when he discovers ribbons on trees obviously markng the land for some form of development.
The woman behind the ribbons is one Sadie Quill. Employed by a consortium of local businessmen to map and catalog the area’s ecosystems as part of their effort to develop a proposal to turn the area into a nature preserve, Sadie is also on a mission to find a legendary source of gold – an obsession shared by her late father. Physically and emotionally scarred by a fire eight years earlier, Sadie is far from comfortable with men and, like Morgan, simply isn’t looking for romance. But, clearly, the Powers That Be have another plan for both of them.
When Sadie comes upon a naked Adonis swimming one day, she does what a whole lot of us might do in that situation – she watches. And when said Adonis also chases her, pins her down, and steals a kiss, Sadie’s self-esteem is so low that, she thinks the forest god just might have kissed her out of pity.
Certain she’ll never see her mysterious Adonis again, Sadie reluctantly agrees to a blind date set up by her mother’s boyfriend (yet another of those time-traveling warriors) and, of course, that blind date is Morgan. Fascinated by Sadie – even though he is unalterably opposed to her plans for his valley – Morgan is disturbed enough by both Daar’s predictions of danger and the presence of mysterious men that he vows to protect both Sadie and his valley.
Okay, there’s a lot of good stuff here. Chapman has created a neat mythology and, hey, who doesn’t like the idea of stumbling across a gorgeous sword-carrying warrior amongst all those guys packing briefcases. But, for some reason, this one just didn’t catch my fancy quite the way Charming the Highlander managed. For one thing, Morgan wasn’t quite the towering and imposing figure made by Grey in the earlier book. He’s cute, mind you, but I can’t recall envying Sadie too much even once.
Sadie is basically likable and her wariness of men reasonable, but, probably in an effort to make her heroine more endearing, the author ended up creating a character who annoyed me more than once. Hey, when you spend a lot of time on your own in wilderness areas, regularly losing your cell phone isn’t cute – it’s idiotic. But, with that quibble aside, Sadie is a strong heroine whose obsession to find the gold that eluded her father is understandable.
I have to mention one other thing that slightly bothered me: 27-year old Sadie has a 43-year old mother. I know that 16 year-olds have children and happy marriages, but I was completely pulled out of the story as I imagined the circumstances of her birth and wondered whether her mother managed to finish high school. With an already-crowded plot, Mom’s age – a key factor in her relationship with Sadie – distracted unnecessarily from the main storyline. I’m quite capable of enjoying a secondary romance featuring a woman in her 50’s (and I imagine a lot of readers would agree) and I would have been a lot more comfortable if Mom had been a decade older.
With all that said, Loving the Highlander won’t disappoint too much those who enjoyed Charming the Highlander. And, if I wasn’t quite as charmed this time out, I certainly plan to be there for the final chapter.