Sunday, October 12, 2014

Conquered by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

Title: Conquered By a Highlander
Author: Paula Quinn
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: 2012 by Forever publishing company
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


Colin MacGregor was born to fight-for his beliefs, his king, and his family's honor. After years away from his beloved Scotland, he yearns to return to its lush, green hills-and he can, after he completes one final mission for the king. Sent to infiltrate a traitor's home, Colin is determined to expose the treasonous plot and triumph on the battlefield . . . until he meets a sensual lass who tempts him towards other pursuits . . . .


Lady Gillian Dearly is no stranger to temptation. Cast out of her family for bearing an illegitimate child, she's now the ward of a barbarian conspiring against the king. Her only desire: freedom for her son and for herself at any cost, even if it means making a deal with the devil. Yet when a mysterious Highlander appears in their midst, his braw strength and smoldering gaze give her hope for a future beyond the castle walls-and promise a desire unlike any she's ever known. But passion comes at a price . . . 

My Thoughts: While reading this book I unintentionally kept comparing Monica McCarty's Highland Guard series to this book. Comparing the two series was actually not fair to either author. Although both series are about warring Highlanders this particular series is set some 300 years later than McCarty's. This book in particular, set in 1688, focuses on the characters more than the historic setting. For someone like me, who is more character driven, it should have been a home run. So why after several weeks of thinking about did I lower my rating from 4 cups of coffee to 3.5?

For multiple reasons actually...

1) Although I do not like insta-love I don't care for the flip side either. The slow progression towards the lovey dovey outcome made for an equally slow progressing book. As a reader I was moving from chapter to chapter waiting for something to happen being a bit disappointed each time. In addition to the slow romance, the promised fighting action took forever to reach it's climax also. A big battle was hinted at throughout the book and, unfortunately, happened off camera, so to speak.

2) When the I Love Yous were admitted the book continued for another 700 pages. A bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea. There were misunderstandings to resolve, a battle (we didn't witness) to fight, and a reunion to happen. Yet, when all was said and done, I felt I missed something. Some sort of epic momentous declaration in front of God and Scotland about how Gillian was the only woman Colin would ever want and maybe a wedding. I kind of feel that since I had to read another 1200 pages after the I Love Yous I should have got a wedding out of the deal.

3) Why didn't Colin have any issue with Gillian having a baby out of wedlock? In 1688 I'm not sure any man would have taken a fallen woman and her child in as their beloved. Maybe that is why there was no wedding. Perhaps, Colin made Gillian his mistress! Probably not as this is a romance and those things don't smack of HEAs.

The good stuff: I know I said a few things that could be deal breakers for some I do have to say that over all I did like this book. I liked Gillian and her precarious position. I liked her champion/guard George. I thought Geoffry made for an excellent villain (one which proved to be quite smart). And Gillian's son Edmond is precious.  I enjoyed the women from Colin's homeland.  I liked that this book works well as a standalone even though it is book 4 in Children of the Mist series. But I think what I loved best about this book was not the characters nor the plot but the dedication at the beginning of the book...

"To my beloved... Until we meet again in the sweet hereafter. I love you."

In a Nutshell: Despite the issues I had with this book I still found it to be a decent historical read. Heavy on the character, light on the plot. I'd not recommend this book to just anyone but those who are character driven, like myself. Do not compare this series to the Highland Guard series. Read it and enjoy it based strictly on it's own merits.  Oh and I also think that Paula Quinn is grossly over looked when it comes to historical romances. I don't think this particular book is a good one to recommend but I totally recommend her as an author and implore y'all to pick one of her books up.


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