Sunday, August 2, 2009
I read Julie at Outlandish Dreaming's terrific reviews of Monica McCarty's books and decided they sounded exactly like the kind of story I've been looking for - and I was not disappointed! Highlander Untamed is the first book in the Macleods of Skye Series. What a great story!
At the request of her uncle, Isabel MacDonald agrees to a year-long handfast to an enemy clan's laird, Rory MacLeod. Her uncle wants her to find the hidden entrance to the MacLeod castle and steal their infamous Fairy Flag and bring it to him. If she does not, he will back the enemy clan of her father in a feud, which will certainly end in her father and brothers deaths. The plan is for her to seduce him and gain the information for her to pass on. The only problem is, he's not being seduced! He won't come anywhere near her.
Rory's plan is simple, handfast Isabel to maintain peace, then return her at the end of the year. He does not want to get close to her, or have sex with her, or like her. But she is beautiful, and he finds himself attracted to her. She befriends his sister, who was wounded and shamed by Isabel's clan two years previously. He sees the difference in his sister almost immediately - she's more outgoing, and seems happier than he's seen her since her injury. It's not until Isabel is ambushed by a rival clan and almost raped that Rory realizes he might love Isabell.
For her part, Isabell starts to love Rory's family, and then even Rory himself. They begin a physical relationship that brings them even closer. But Rory knows he must return Isabel at the end of the handfast so that he can marry someone from another clan for political reasons. Isabel knows he plans to return him and tries to think of a way to stay.
She feels tied to Rory's family in a way she's never felt before and comes up with a plan that will satisfy her uncle yet not betray Rory, but he walks in on her in the middle of the plan and thinks she's planning to betray him. He breaks the handfast and throws her out, devestated by her betrayal.
Can she prove to Rory her allegiance is to him? Will Rory believe her? What will her uncle do to her?
I will admit I am a sucker for stories with forced weddings (in books only - haha), so this book had everything I like - great characters, clan battles, sexy, sexy Highlanders, and, at one point, Rory asked Isabel for a boon (I surely do luv me a boon!). I loved this book!!! I can't wait to read the next one...
The author's note at the end of the book was fascinating. Apparently these were real people. The story may have been fictional, but it was based on historical facts. I would never have guessed the fairy flag or the War of the One Eyed Woman were real.