When I first read about Eoin MacLean in The Chief, the first in the “Highland Guard” series, I didn’t thought his marriage to MacDowell’s daughter was a love match. Or that later on, their story would break my heart with such great obstacle in their path.
I wouldn’t recommend this to be read as a standalone as reader wouldn’t get the brethren and dynamic among the whole Highland Guard members, and the same occurrences in some of the books that tied each Highland Story together.
Hero and heroine on this book was meant for others, their marriages were supposed to forge an alliance in opposite camps. Instead, Eoin and Maggie met, fell in lust then love, handfasting and pledged their vows to one another.
What started as fairy tale turned into hellish for Maggie when she had to go home with Eoin and his family. Treated as an outsider, daughter of the enemy and found wanting scraped at her confidence; secrecy and the close-to-home threat finally drove her away.
I was pretty miffed with Eoin throughout reading this. His treatment of his young bride was thoughtless. Granted, he was put in difficult positions. But so was his wife. That he was quick to suspect her was another issue that tried my patience.
But I applauded Monica McCarty on how cleverly she span their tumultuous romance into the tragedy at Loch Ryan. But oh the heartbreak. And how these two could go back or started anew after such catastrophe was NOT easy.
Unlike in other book, the other Highland Guards didn’t take much part on Eoin’s story – perhaps due to his connection to the enemy’s daughter made Eoin kept to himself.
I think this is the first book where I feel quite a lot resentment to the people in Bruce’s camp and his supporters. Their cautiousness shown as judgey most of the time. That included the ever ambitious Eoin MacLean.
Despite all that, I have to say this is one the best romance in the series so far. And after the glimpse of Thomas MacGowan in this book I can’t wait for the release of The Rock next month, and Alex Seton… err, I mean The Ghost next year.
ARC was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the exchange of an honest review.