Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.
The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land
Medieval Scotland, 1400’s UK
Heat Level: 3-4 erotic
Reviewer rating: 4.5
REVIEW BY PATRICE
Maya Banks, Maya Banks, where forth hath thou been all of mine depraved *ahem* deprived life? Forsooth! Out of my reading shelves’ line of sight! I have been lured away from Scotland historical romances briefly due to the fact there’s been some excellent new distractions set in Georgian and Regency England. Ms. Banks has wooed me back to the highlands with her bonnie writing skills. I could not put down In Bed with a Highlander! The only reason I backed away from this novel was because of the usual culprits; work, school, and social/family obligations that did not involve reading. Aww, Ms. Banks, you have more than earned a new fan, and here’s why. Ta da! A perfect read for Valentine’s Day week!
SYNOPSIS & CHARACTER OVERVIEW
What happens when the secret love child of a Scottish king who has been bequeathed a vast fortune in land and wealth is hidden away in a convent? She becomes a legend and a prize for power hungry and corrupt men. Mairin Stuart understands the reality of her situation. Despite the hardships, she remains such a pure, stalwart woman and is not closed to the faint possibility of security and contentment with a good man. Even with her limited experience and horrible ordeal at the hands of Duncan Cameron, the brutish and cunning antagonist, she is receptive to the gruff and disciplined Ewan McCabe, laird and mortal enemy of Cameron.
From the initial moment of Mairin’s debut in chapter one, I was captivated by her bravery and big heart. She is selfless with a noble purity that fits and defies the timeline of this story. The contemporary world devours or demonizes such women today. The medieval world would have called her daft or annihilated her spirit. I suspect that highland women were made of tougher stuff so it would not be an easy task. Her naivetéand bold honesty bring loads of hilarity to the dialogue. All these qualities and more, make her the perfect match for Laird Ewan McCabe.
Ewan is all pure, undiluted alpha male; willing to take down the entire universe to protect his clan and defend his lands. I appreciate that although he eats and drinks revenge, he’s pragmatic without losing his humanity. He carries the bushido spirit of a true warrior when it comes to all things honorable and the higher law to do what is right. He champions the weak and defenseless, and respects Mairin for her valor and sacrifice. In matters of the heart and soul, they are matched.
The supporting characters, which mostly include clan members and Ewan’s immediate family, add to the interaction between Mairin and Ewan, the plot, and the witty, funny dialogue. The external forces of the plot involve Duncan Cameron and those who are working with him to capture and claim Mairin for her inheritance. While the internal conflicts that Ewan and Mairin struggle with are learning to trust one another and discovering love. It’s within the unity of the McCabe lands and keep that Mairin and Ewan are transformed and protected by people when danger and treachery encroaches on their turf. Everyone closes ranks because this dynamic couple has earned the right to the loyalty and devotion that is freely given to them.
The writing and characterization is what makes this story amazing. Ms. Banks has a wicked sense of humor and wonderful way with words. She is so connected to her writing that she makes you feel it all, the good and the bad. Her historical research pinpointed the role of the clans and King David in this era so well that I was impressed at how familiar she was with the politics and customs.
There were some areas that came off as a bit cut and dried, and I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. It could be that Ms. Banks knows and understands when and how to ‘wrap things up’. Perhaps I’m complaining and whining that she was so thorough about it! Ha! She does offer a glimpse of characters and plot for the sequel. I get the impression that this is not the last readers will see of Duncan Cameron. Like all cowardly and despicable villains that are power hungry and underhanded, he seems to have slithered away–or not. The fact that I’m not quite sure remains my issue.
In Bed with a Highlander keeps swinging its literary claymore when it comes to kicking things off with edgy action, lots and lots of warm fuzzy feelings, just the right amount of love scenes with sizzle, and solid, interesting characters. The plot could have used a bit more external conflict from the trickles of intrigue that Ms. Banks sprinkled into the storyline, but hey, I always enjoy a well-written character driven novel, so if this sounds like a complaint, it’s not, just an observation. I’m thrilled with discovering this author and series and look forward to reading more of her books. If this is the start, I can’t wait to read more while dreading the conclusion. I just hope that she will continue to be as successful and prolific as she is talented. With that combo, I believe this author will be around for many years to come.