Much Ado About Highlanders is the first of a trilogy which I listened to back in March 2017 and enjoyed very much.
After a prank backfired and years of father/daughter misunderstandings, independent and headstrong Kenna MacKay fled her marital home on the night of her wedding to Alexander Macpherson. Their marriage was arranged to unite the two clans. For the past six months she has been training in the skills of healing with the nuns at Glosters Priory. Kenna and her cousin, Emily, are attending a birth in the village when they are kidnapped by the Macpherson brothers in a determined attempt to bring Kenna and Alexander together again. Left alone, the attraction ignites.
To complicate matters, Kenna’s legacy from her mother puts her in mortal danger. Sir Ralph Evers and his lowland partner in crime, Donald Maxwell, want Kenna’s healing part of the magical tablet and are prepared to anything to get it.The tablet is in four sections, each owned by different people and each piece gives the owner a unique and powerful gift.
Fifty years earlier…..
Wet and cold and exhausted, Cairns pulled out the leather pouch that hung round his neck. From it, he removed the broken piece of tablet. His fingers traced the ancient markings. So small you could hold it in the palm of your hand, but it held a special gift. Together, the four pieces of the tablet held a terrible power. No one had warned them how terrible. There was no way for them to know.
Although this leans a little towards a bodice ripper, which isn’t my usual choice, I enjoyed the complete change of pace. It was an easy, fun listen and the plot devices are what you’d expect. A beautiful, feisty heroine who won’t be dictated to, can use a weapon (in this case a dirk) and a dark, handsome and brooding highlander who sweeps her off her feet and into his arms. I found myself sometimes fast forwarding the sexy scenes to get to the part of the storyline that appealed to me, which was the historical and paranormal/magical aspects and the history of the relic, its powers and the fight for possession. These aspects give the story substance and are not resolved since there are two more books to follow. Once Kenna and Alexander are completely reconciled and she is accepted into clan MacPherson the romance becomes secondary.
The characters are engaging, who doesn’t like a handsome, sexy Highlander in a kilt and a heroine who isn’t afraid to stand her ground. I enjoyed the solid writing style and the plot was paced well. It’s good escapism and is the first book in a trilogy. The subplot with James, Alexander’s brother, and Emily, was quite similar to that of Kenna and Alexander, albeit with different responses.
The one negative for me was the sudden transitions from one part of the narrative to a different scene and characters with no warning, which was confusing. Maybe in the print versions there’s a break of some sort to show the shift but that doesn’t come across in the audio, which was read extremely well by Saskia Maarleveld.
About the Book
Highland warrior Alexander Macpherson has lost his wife. When he agreed to take Kenna Mackay as his bride to advance his clan’s power in the north, he expected a bit of an adjustment. He didn’t expect the sharp-tongued beauty to run away on their wedding night. Still, Alexander wants his runaway bride…and he has the sneaking suspicion that she wants him, too.
Kenna Mackay thought she was safe in a priory full of nuns learning the craft of healing, but when she is kidnapped by her own husband, the battle of wits begins anew. But even as passions ignite, a deadly secret from Kenna’s past rises to the surface and put their new love in jeopardy. As a heartless villain closes in, two headstrong lovers find themselves locked in a struggle between evil and the power of undying love. And this time, Alexander is determined he will not lose his wife again.