To sum it up: Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. And to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all.
The ultimate Highland warlord and a swordsman without equal, Tor MacLeod has no intention of being drawn into Scotland’s war against the English. Dedicated to his clan, the fiercely independent chief answers to no one— especially not to his alluring new bride, bartered to him in a bid to secure his command of the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. The treacherous chit who made her way to Tor’s bed may have won his hand, but she will never claim his heart.
Although her husband’s reputation is as fierce as his manner, Christina Fraser believes that something softer hides beneath his brutal shell. But the only warmth she feels is in their bed, in glorious moments of white-hot desire that disappear with the dawn. When Christina’s reckless bid to win her husband’s love goes awry and thrusts them into danger on the eve of war, Tor will face his ultimate battle: to save his wife and to open his heart— before it’s too late.
How Tor looked in my mind:
(In real life, Gabriel Aubry doesn’t have blue eyes of course, but since Tor is described with having piercing blue eyes in the novel, I decided to make a few changes!)
(When all else fails, picture my boyfriend Chris Hemsworth! Gabriel Aubry's face worked for me, while picturing Tor... but Chris Hemsworth's body? Ummm... YES PLEASE!)
I have to admit... I was a bit hesitant going into this book, because I had heard it features a lot of history. That’s not something that I tend to mind too much, as long as it isn’t done to the extreme. Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re getting a history lesson, instead of reading a romance. Although I enjoyed this book, I just felt that it could have focused less on the historical/political aspect.
Not only that, but everyone’s last names were so darn confusing! MacLeod, MacSorley, MacRuairi, MacLean, MacGregor, MacKay... catch my drift? How is someone supposed to focus on the story-line, when all of these similar names are consistently thrown on every other page? I found myself (many times) having to stop and wonder who these characters were- were they the good guys? Or were they the bad ones? It just took away the entire enjoyable reading experience for me.
I will say this though: I loved the hero and the heroine. The heroine, Christina, was naive and vulnerable… aside from her appearance, which men often thought, looked very sensual. She wanted to be a good wife, and more than anything, she just wanted Tor to like her. She knew his lovemaking, but she knew nothing of the man. He kept his thoughts to himself. And no matter how hard she tried to break through the wall he’d erected around himself, nothing worked. Many readers would definitely consider her character very needy and lacking some major back-bone... probably even border-line pathetic. Of course this didn’t bother me in the least though, since those are characteristics that I adore in my heroines!
Tor on the other hand, was everything I love in my heroes- he was a big alpha sexy highlander who didn’t have time for a woman’s tender feelings. He was a warrior chief, and nothing more. The only thing that concerned him was his clan, and making sure that they were always taken care of. He had no wish to hurt Christina, but neither did he want to encourage her obvious love-sick feelings for him. *sigh* ...who the heck doesn’t love a hero who constantly keeps himself at an emotional distance from the heroine?
I can’t say for sure if I’ll continue on with the series- I liked this book… but I didn’t love it. I will say this though: Monica McCarty knows her history- and she had a beautiful writing style- I just felt like I got more of a detailed history lesson, more than I did a love story.
Some of my favorite quotes:
-“I know your face. And if I so much as hear of you touching an unwilling woman again, mine will be the last you ever see.” -Tor
-"...He gave a harsh laugh. “Apparently, it is difficult for you to understand, but I don’t want, nor do I need, your help. You are my wife, by God, not one of my men. I warned you not to interfere. I told you to never- under any circumstances- come to the broch again. Your ‘help’ has put my clan, the men I’ve been training, and me in grave danger... you have no idea what you've done." -Tor