By Juliette Miller
Clan Mackenzie Trilogy #2
The Set Up
Stella Morrison and her four sisters accompanied their father to the Clan Mackenzie keep, prepared to form an alliance through the marriage of Laird Mackenzie's brother Wilkie and her younger sister Maisie. After their arrival plans quickly change and in the blink of an eye, Stella was chosen to marry the youngest MacKenzie, Kade, a notorious fierce warrior. Her heart was still with Caleb, the young blacksmith in her clan who was exiled when her father learned of her feelings.
Stella suffered much physical abuse at the hands of her father and his first officers and expected the same from the intimidating Kade. She was terrified and was distraught at the idea of a loveless marriage. Kade actually chose Stella as soon as he realized Wilkie needed to break his agreement and then he saw her for the first time. He had no intention of forcing his marital rights until she was ready, willing and begging. There was also much dissension in the Morrison clan and resentment that Kade was now the Laird-in-waiting to the ailing Laird Morrison.
What I liked About the Story
It's a really interesting and compelling story that sucked me in from the start. The dance between Kade and Stella was pretty sensual and it didn't take long for her to emerge from her shell and gain strength from her new husband. The lifestyle is gritty, appropriate for the period and you always sensed the danger and brutality just beneath the surface. There was quite a bit of action and the romance between Kade and Stella was pretty wonderful. The ending was harrowing, keeping me on edge to the very end.
What I Didn't Like As Much
The first person narrative was often a challenge as alternate points of view would likely have improved the pacing of the story. The flowery language, heavy at times with endless description of the same thing or emotion, also bogged down the narrative. I often just skimmed over all that prose.
Despite some of the issues, I really liked this story and Stella's courage and spunk. She took some risks and opened herself to Kade in the midst of her fear. I loved Kade, a brawny and brainy warrior who was absolutely fearless and quite the lover. You'll be pleasantly surprised at his creativity under the furs. The action and suspense was the real highlight, making for a very satisfying Highlander tale and addition to the series. Bring on Knox's story!