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Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: In Bed with a Highlander

In Bed with a HighlanderTitle: In Bed with a Highlander
Author: Maya Banks
Page Count: 368 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: historical romance
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
*This title goes on sale on August 30, 2011*

Bestselling author Maya Banks’s beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love. 
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.

This is a week for discovering new authors apparently, as I'm diving in with Maya Banks today!  I'm glad I did, because this was a fun, fun book.  It was sweet, romantic, slightly spicy, and set up the next two books in the series beautifully.  As the first book in the trilogy, it did a perfect job making me want to read the next two books.

Ewan McCabe's life is kind of in the soup.  His holdings are in ruins, his clan is short on needed supplies, and he's in the midst of trying to keep body and soul together for everyone who depends on him while at the same time coming out ahead in terms of land holdings, resources, and respect.  When a mysterious woman kind of falls into his lap, he initially sees marrying her as a good way to access a huge dowry (she's the illegitimate daughter of the king) as well as to keep a problem to his young son that he will keep her safe.  The fact that she isn't ugly doesn't hurt either.  People have gotten married for less, right?

He didn't in a million years see Mairin Stuart coming.  She's funny, sweet, vivacious, innocent (being raised by nuns will do that), enthusiastic, and a million other great things.  She's completely aware of the fact that she needs a protector since a lot of people are going to be after her if the truth comes out about her identity.  She's frank in her assessment that living among the nuns has given her the ability to kind of hide from the reality of her position for a long time and that it's time for her to move forward; she figures that Ewan is a decent man and she could do worse.

Do they plan to fall in love? Nope. Do they? Oh heck yeah.  It's a huge journey for both of them, both physically and emotionally, as they have to overcome a ton of obstacles to cement their relationship.  My heart about stopped when the evil guy finally made his move to try to screw things up.  Even then, the awfulness of that can't stand up to the optimism that these two find in having the other person at their back.  

By far, though, my favorite part of the book was the unabashed honesty with which Mairin approaches everything in her life.  When her wedding night was kind of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am situation, the next time Ewan tries to put the moves on her, she tells him he's a dud in the sack and why don't they just skip it.  Ewan is not prepared for that to say the least.  To be fair to him, there were enemies coming up on their holdings and he needed to make sure that the marriage was consummated so nobody could claim the marriage was invalid, but still, Mairin was like, well that's disappointing.  It was charming in a sense that it made the characters much more authentic and real.

Ewan redeems himself, in case you were worried.

The next two books in the trilogy are slated for release in September (Seduction of a Highland Lass) and October (Never Love a Highlander) and that's super good news, because there will be minimal waiting for the next parts of the story!  Ewan's two brothers, Alaric and Caelan, are the heroes of the books, respectively, and I will be super happy to see how the McCabe clan fares in the next installments.

Overall Grade: A
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