Seduced by Her Highland Warrior
Seduced by Her Highland Warrior is a book I liked but didn’t love. It’s somewhat unique in that the couple has already been married for several years at the start of the book. And that’s several years where they have been together, not several years during which one or the other ran off because of a stupid misunderstanding. Instead, the distance between them is emotional.
Laren MacKinoch truly loves her husband. But ever since their young son died, they’ve grown apart. Alex is chief of the clan and often occupied with its welfare. The role of lady to his laird has never come naturally to Laren. In the wake of her son’s death, she found refuge in glass making. Her husband doesn’t know exactly what she does all day, and most of the clan is in the dark as well. But when tragedy strikes again, she needs to tell Alex her secret.
The MacKinloch’s are attacked by an ambitious English lord, and their keep burns to the ground. As they struggle to rebuild, Laren realizes she can help if she sells her glass to a church. She does better than expected, and even gets a commission for a stained glass window. When she finally reveals all to Alex, he doesn’t react as she expected. Rather than being proud of her, he’s concerned for her safety. They continue a pattern of talking past each other and misunderstanding, though they know there’s a problem and would like things to get better.
Externally, there’s a lot going on as well. The English lord kidnaps the daughter of another clan’s chief. He then blackmails the desperate chief into attacking the MacKinlochs so he can exchange one hostage for another. Alex spends most of the book occupied with rebuilding his keep, protecting his clan. But he also needs to rebuild his marriage and rekindle the love that he and Laren used to share.
It sounds completely ridiculous, but every so often I want to give a book a B– or a C++. Seduced by Her Highland Warrior is such a book. It’s splitting hairs, I know, but sometimes I feel like I’m not totally on board with a recommendation and yet wouldn’t exactly want to classify a book as average either. (Oddly enough, I don’t have this issue with A/B or C/D grades nearly as often).
I found plenty to like in this book. I liked the idea of a married couple working on their relationship and falling in love all over again. I enjoyed Laren’s glassmaking and her struggles as an artist. I also found her reluctance to take a leadership role in the clan interesting and different. In that sense, she was a believable, flawed character. I also felt that Willingham did a good job depicting the period. These people really are struggling for survival, and it doesn’t feel like history lite.
What doesn’t work as well? Laren spends far too much time running off after Alex tells her to stay put for her safety. She sometimes has good reasons for running off, but she never takes the time to explain herself beforehand – even when she has the time to do so. Many a misunderstanding could have been avoided with a few extra moments of conversation. Similarly, there is an obvious solution to the clans v. evil English guy conflict. They eventually arrive at this solution, but only after a lot of (in my opinion, unnecessary) heartache. If your daughter is being held captive, it seems like maybe you’d ask your allies for help. Because, you know, that what allies are for. And I know this is picky, but I wish one of the main characters hadn’t been named Nairna. My brain translated it to “Narnia” – every time.
On the strength of the setting and the married couple romance relationship, I’m going with a marginal recommendation. Or, in other words, the B–. This isn’t what I’d call a must read, but might be worth picking up for Medieval fans.
I've been at AAR since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. I've been a Reviewer, Reviews Editor, Managing Editor, Publisher, and Blogger. Oh, and Advertising Corodinator. Right now I'm taking a step back to concentrate on kids, new husband, and new job in law...but I'll still keep my toe in the romance waters.