Thursday, January 15, 2015

Take Me To The Highlands

"Ye'll never know how I've longed for ye.
I could think of what I'd done to lose ye when ye were all I wanted."
--Ariel MacArran, Another Man's Bride


Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Here Be Dragons
Pages: 382
Publication Date: July 21st, 2013
Source: Finished copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Goodreads Description

n a time when even saints face the flames, Isabella Beaufort's visions give her good reason to fear. She tries desperately to keep her gift secret, but when whispers race through the English court that King Henry has been enchanted, Isabella's only hope is to flee north to a marriage arranged by her cousin, Queen Joan of Scotland. No one in the Highlands has more reason to hate the Scottish king than Colyne MacKimzie. Conspiring with King James' enemies at court, Colyne promises to prevent the English lady from reaching her betrothed and expects a high ransom for her release. While holding Isabella captive, Colyne learns her secret, but now he is hiding one of his own-he cannot bear to be parted from this haunted, dark-eyed woman. Colyne knows kidnapping the queen's cousin is one thing, but keeping her invites the wrath of the most powerful men in Scotland. Falling under the fiery chieftain's spell, Isabella is tormented by visions of Colyne killing King James-and her as well. Colyne and Isabella's frantic efforts to alter the future she sees only twist their path closer toward the infamous murder of a king. When the king's men seize Colyne, Isabella must submit to her arranged marriage to save him even as conspirators rise up to seize the Scottish throne. Interwoven with actual historical events, Another Man's Bride is a passionate tale of magic, court intrigue and a love that even fate is powerless to break . . .

This book came highly recommended by the lovely Erin Lindsay McCabe knowing 1. I love historical fiction 2. I love hot men 3. I think she was also secretly trying to get me to love a book with Scottish roots because Outlander was the biggest fail ever for me. Well, she and Ariel MacArran most definitely succeeded on this one.

The Setting

Helloooo Scottish Highlands. THANK YOU Ariel for writing a book that gave me the feels of  Scotland without pages of gratuitous adjectives and pages of unnecessary descriptions (sorry, it will be difficult for me NOT to take some Outlander digs, I am who I am). I could see the castle, the greenery, the mist, the forest, EVERYTHING. I really loved that I felt immersed in this setting.

The Story

Ok, let me back up and talk about the story. Isabella is traveling to Scotland from England to meet her betrothed. On the way, she is captured by a Scottish rogue (swooooon!) Colyne MacKimzie. Herself, her friend Katherine, and the knight protecting them William are taken to Colyne's castle. Surprise! He's not an outlaw, he's actually a chieftain. He is going to hold Isabella from ransom to her new soon-to-be husband but things don't go as planned. Why is that you ask? Well because how could Isabella not fall for the sarcastic and sexy Scot with his fiery beard and long flowing hair...wait, what? Sorry. Back to the story. Drama and conflict occurs, the romance is tenuous, and lots of drama ensues. I liked the story arc for the most part. I loved how we get to know Colyne's sister and her healing ways. We get to know her quite well and I really enjoyed her storyline. The surrounding Scots (I'm not even trying to use this much alliteration...almost) are equally entertaining and I loved reading about their traditions and customs and everyday life in the castle.

The Romance

Te banter between Colyne and Isabella is hilarious. Isabella is English and a little tightly wound. Colyne is all sarcasm and teasing. I love when Isabella gets offended by what he's saying only to pause and look at him and be like, 'you're teasing me, aren't you?' Love. Just love. My favorite part of the book and their relationship is when they put the other through their very opposite daily lives. He takes her around the villages and she treats him to what a day at Court would be like. Loved this. They come from very different walks of life and I loved that they really tried to understand each other and get to know each other.

The History

I know the English version of what was going on at this time so to hear Jaquetta referenced towards the end was amazing to me, she's one of my favorites. And to hear Isabella caught the eye of crazy fucking King Henry was also extremely amusing. With that said, I didn't really have any idea what the Scottish history was during this time so I liked getting a little history lesson while reading.

The Conflict

The conflict of the relationship between Colyne and Isabella was not my favorite. This is just a personal preference and other people reading might not be bothered by it but it didn't feel organic to me. The central conflict comes from Isabella misinterpreting a situation and making assumptions and running with it. She doesn't communicate with Colyne and completely shuts him out refusing to talk or try to understand the situation. This really bothers me. Relationships are based on trust and communication so the fact that this was so lacking in the very beginning just bothered me. I was still rooting for them and wanted them to be together, I just didn't like that this was what was between them.

Reserved Seating
If you like hot Scottish men, historical fiction, the Highlands setting, and a good romance...this book is for you. 

2 comments:

  1. I don't think I've heard a lot about Another Man's Bride before your post, but it does sound pretty delightful! I'm glad that you enjoyed this novel, and think it's pretty dang cool that it's got Scotland for a setting :)

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  2. I'd be annoyed with that kind of conflict, too. I always hate when the "big" conflict in a book is based on miscommunication. I know that it happens, but I get frustrated when two people who supposedly love each other just can't talk out their issues. Haha!

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