My Devilish Scotsman
My Devilish Scotsman is the second book in a trilogy about three Scottish sisters whose mother was burned at the stake as a witch. Each sister possesses magical powers of her own. After their mother’s death, the girls were separately sent into hiding for their own safety, but now their father, Laird MacDonell, is dying and he has called them home to see them settled with husbands and safe from witch hunters before he dies.
The eldest, Isobel, wound up jilting the fiancé chosen for her, the darkly handsome and enigmatic Nicholas Lyon, the Earl of Kincreag, for another (My Wicked Highlander), and now the laird wishes the earl to marry another of his daughters, Gillian. Gillian is quite happy to do so – her other sole marital prospect is an elderly French knight, and Gillian wishes to remain in Scotland near her family – and even slips Nicholas a love potion to help move things along.
Nicholas is not happy to have anything to do with yet another MacDonell woman, but he is unable to deny his longtime friend in his hour of need, and it doesn’t matter whom he marries anyway. After one disastrous marriage with a cheating wife he is rumored to have killed, he has no interest in a wife for any purpose other than procreation.
They repair to his dark, forbidding castle where unsettling events begin to occur. Servants mysterious die, several attempts are made on Gillian’s life and the old rumors of Nicholas’s supposed evil deeds begin to resurface. When Gillian, who had never displayed any magical powers before, suddenly begins to be able to see and communicate with the dead, the atmosphere in the castle becomes even more oppressive and dangerous.
I found Gillian to be an interesting character. She begins the novel fairly young emotionally, but really grows into her role as wife and witch, and matures a great deal in the process. She was with her mother when she was taken to be killed, and the experience traumatized her. She has always mourned the fact that she didn’t display any of her mother’s powers, and when she does prove to be a necromancer, she uses and accepts her power as a gift, even though it becomes a point of contention between her and Nicholas, who refuses to believe in witches.
Nicholas is a man who has lived with the stigma of being a wife killer and is used to everyone thinking the worst of him, save for the strong friendships he has with Laird MacDonell and King James. He doesn’t want to care for Gillian, but he cannot help himself, and the depiction of their growing bond and trust is the highlight of the book. He initially believed that Gillian was slipping him not a love potion, but a poison, and the consequences of the disposal of the potion and his reaction when he learns the truth is wonderfully funny.
I had the same objection to this book as I did to the last: the ending was hurried and a bit melodramatic. But until then, I greatly enjoyed getting to know Nicholas and Gillian, and I look forward to sister Rose’s book next month.
|Review Date:||August 6, 2005|