Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Her Highness and the Highlander by Tracy Anne Warren


Princess Mercedes of Alden is on the run from unknown assailants who have brutally murdered her cousin and her entire traveling entourage. Lost in the wilds of Scotland, she is relieved to have found refuge in an inn --

But the innkeeper and the other patrons do not believe her story and, judging by her appearance, thinks she is trouble and have asked her to leave.

Until Major Daniel McKinnon stands up to vouch for her. Daniel has been pensioned off from Her Majesty's Army, a controversial career path which has caused him the estrangement of his grandfather and father and the heartbreak of his mother. But now he is home to make amends with the ghosts of his family -- and to see what is left for him in Skye.

When he hears Mercedes's story, he isn't completely convinced of its truth -- but he knows what he sees: he truly terrified woman who was alone. So he decides to help her.

What Daniel doesn't count on are the number of complications that have arisen after he agrees to help Mercedes: her nightmares keeps her from a restful sleep -- and the only way she can truly rest is to have Daniel beside her. And there is also Daniel's growing attraction to his beautiful travel companion.

The Princess Brides series is Tracy Anne Warren's latest series -- I was excited when this series was announced because I really enjoyed Warren's Byrons of Braebourne series. I actually got The Princess and the Peer when it came out and it still sits on my TBR pile. (After reading Her Highness and the Highlander, though, I will try to find time to read the first book this March.)

Her Highness and the Highlander was a good read. It was well-paced, well-written and engaging enough that I finished it quite quickly -- but I felt it lacked that special something that made me love the Byrons and Warren's Trap Trilogy.

I am considering these as the reasons why:

1. The fictional kingdom of Alden -- I wish the country was described more, especially its political situation. When Princess Mercedes was attacked in the first chapter, I immediately thought that this was related to her country. My theory was further supported by the fact that Mercedes spent six years in a school in Scotland and was only now going home to Alden. Why make a fictitious country if it is not integral to the story?

2. The attraction between Mercedes and Daniel is very physical. Mercedes in beautiful and Daniel is handsome, though not in the traditional sense of the word. Add to this, the very, literally, physical aspect of their time together: Mercedes needs to have Daniel sleeping beside her.

I don't mind that the relationship begins on the physical level, but, considering the close quarters, the proximity, the intimacy of their situation, I would have liked to see it deepen through the course of the story. Unfortunately, it is very one-sided from the beginning -- I didn't really see how Mercedes contributed to the relationship.

I thought Daniel was a nicely fleshed-out character, with enough backstory to make him a sympathetic hero. Warren's characterization of him was consistent from beginning to end: he was noble and knightly and came to Mercedes' rescue when she needed it the most.

...finally he was going home to the blue-green vistas of Skye.

But will it still feel like home? a part of him wondered. He had lost so many there as well in the decade he'd been away. The most painful loss was that of his mother, who had died while he'd been mired knee-deep in siege mud in Spain; he'd eventually learned of her passing by letter weeks after the fact.
- pp 5-6

When I had realized where the story was going -- that the hero and heroine would be going on a journey -- I was already cringing at the thought of chapters upon chapters of travel and rest, travel and rest -- but Warren makes this part surprisingly enjoyable -- I enjoyed the brief interlude the couple take at the Cameron's. It taught Mercedes a valuable lesson that she would apply to her own life towards the end of the story.

Sara said she was a natural, whatever that might imply. She'd never spent time around children, had never given much thought to being a mother, though she, of course, had always known that someday she would have sons and daughters. But in her world, women did not participate in the day-to-day rearing of their children Nursemaids and nannies did all the changing and feeding with children brought down from the nursery wing to spend time with their parents when duty did not demand otherwise.

...

What would it be like to be more like Sara? ...
- p. 168

I wonder if I would have had a better impression of this story if I had read the first book first. I think (I hope) the backstory that Mercedes lacks could be found there.

Her Highness and the Highlander is the second book in Tracy Anne Warren's Princess Brides series. The last book, The Trouble with Princesses will be released in Fall 2013. (Yes, I plan to get a copy. ^_^)

To find out more about Tracy Anne Warren and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook and on Goodreads.

I read this for the February Reading Romances Challenge 2013: Foreigners do it better!



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