Friday, July 01, 2011

TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER by Paula Quinn

TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER – Paula Quinn
Children of the Mist Series, Book 3
Grand Central’s Forever
ISBN: 978-0-446-55236-3
July 2011
Historical Romance

Whitehall Palace, London, 1685

James Stuart has just been crowned King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which pleases the MacGregors of Skye. Callum MacGregor, Laird of the Mist, has come for the coronation with his wife and four children. But now Mairi MacGregor wants to go home to Camlochlin in the Highlands. Though James II is Catholic, the English at the royal court do not welcome Mairi, who is both an avowed Catholic and patriotic Scot. She likes them no better than they like her. Out of pride, she chooses to wear her Highland garb in the palace, further stamping herself as an outsider. Mairi has made one English friend, however, Lord Henry de Vere, son of the Earl of Oxford. He’d be a handsome man if he didn’t have the long scar on his face. Scars to a Highlander are as nothing, but members of the effete court look away from him. Henry feels gratitude to Mairi…and maybe more.

Another reason Mairi wants to leave London is the presence of her childhood friend, her first and only love, Captain Connor Grant. Connor broke her heart seven years ago when he left to serve his cousin, King Charles II, by joining the Royal Army. Never mind that he asked Mairi to go with him; she refused to leave Scotland for a Protestant king. Mairi was then very young, but she is still as fierce as ever. In fact, she’s trained as a warrior and secretly belongs to a Highland rebel militia. However, Mairi’s father refuses to take her home with him. She and her brother Colin (who is also in the militia) must stay behind. Unbeknownst to Mairi, her father asks Connor to keep an eye on her. Though most would agree that Mairi, as a lady, needs taming, Connor admires her unbroken spirit. For Mairi’s wasn’t the only heart broken all those years ago. Connor kept hoping Mairi would relent, but she never did. As he watches her now, her friendship with Henry de Vere bothers him. He also wonders what she is up to when he sees her sneaking around the palace.

This is a time of turmoil in England. No love is lost among Catholics and the various Protestant sects. Intrigue runs rampant throughout the Palace and beyond. There are factions who would oust King James in favor of his daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange.

It’s a toss-up whether TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER is more plot-driven or character-driven. I’m not very conversant with James’s short reign or the succession of the Stuarts, but my interest was piqued by the history. If the people other than the royals are real or not doesn’t matter; they are a dynamic bunch. Besides the hero and heroine, I particularly enjoyed meeting Connor’s mother, a Stuart herself, and James’s queen, Mary of Modena, who aren’t above meddling in Mairi’s life.

TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER follows RAVISHED BY A HIGHLANDER and SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER. Look for Colin’s tale to come in CONQUERED BY A HIGHLANDER. For more about this quartet and earlier books about the previous generation, check out the author’s web page at www.paulaquinn.com.

Jane Bowers

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