Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan


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Fiona Sinclair and Myles Campbell are children of warring families. Tired of the bloodshed and eager for a more united Scotland, King James orders them to get married. Neither one wants the other, but they do their duty and obey the king's orders.

It is believed that Myles's father was responsible for Fiona's mother's death -- and Fiona is determined to feel nothing but hate for her new husband. But his touch ignites passion and longing in her and, as Fiona starts to live among the Campbells, her heart slowly thaws.

But, the peace between Fiona and Myles is threatened by a group of rebel Scots, determined to oust King James from the throne -- and Fiona's brothers are involved. Myles can't help but wonder if his wife is as guilty as the rest of her Sinclair family and wonders if he could trust her.

It is dizzying how deep the treachery runs within the Sinclairs and how dangerous the situation is for Fiona, whose loyalties must belong to her husband -- but she still doesn't know what happened to her mother and what role Myles's father played in her mother's gruesome death.

Is she living in a pit of vipers? Or is she the viper? Fiona is antagonistic towards Myles and his family and now she has to live with them. She treads carefully among her new relations, wondering if she could trust them ... wondering if she could trust herself and the feelings that start to surface as she lives there -- because the Campbells don't seem to be the monsters her father and brothers paint them to be. They care for their clan and respect their women. It becomes painfully clear to Fiona that her own family, the Sinclairs, might be the villains in this particular story.

The relationship of Myles and Fiona begin with fireworks -- neither one was prepared to feel such a connection with the other but it is there and it is undeniable. Myles is more open to exploring the possibilities of their marriage but he must woo Fiona into letting him in. It was, at times, frustrating to see Myles try so hard and then have Fiona reject him. Fiona really stubbornly clung on to her anger.

The timing between the two just never seemed right and when things were finally starting to warm up for them, they had to deal with Fiona's brothers and their involvement in the plot to overthrow King James. It is a devastating blow to Myles who isn't sure how Fiona is involved in it.

My favorite character in the story is Vivienne, Myles's very interesting aunt (from his mother's side). She provides humor and dynamism to the story. Which leads me to the one weak point in Tracy Brogan's storytelling: her heroine and her anger was a bit problematic for me. There were times when even I, as a reader, flinched at Fiona's venom and she was walking the fine line between heroine and not-heroine. Contrasted to Vivienne and the rest of the Campbells, Fiona's hostility felt a bit selfish and petty.

A child of her own? Her senses reeled, nearly toppling her from the saddle, and for the second time in many days, she fought to keep her breakfast. With a fist pressed hard against her belly, she sent up a silent prayer to the God who had forsaken her, begging for a barren womb.
- p. 37

* * *

A sensation, like steam rising, thin and indistinct, built inside Fiona's chest. Cedric Campbell was wounded. She should be glad, and yet she felt nothing but morbid curiosity and the faint hope that she'd awaken from this nightmare. An odd stillness overtook her senses, as if she watched from a faraway place.

...

"Is he dead?" she asked, her voice flat.
- pp. 78 - 80

Fiona's one redeeming moment is when she offers to prove her loyalty to Miles and his family. (From Chapter 39 to the end.)

Highland Surrender is Tracy Brogan's debut historical romance novel. She has previously published Crazy Little Thing, a contemporary romance. To find out more about Tracy Brogan and her books, click below.

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I read this book as part of the Romance Reading Challenge 2013 hosted by Nadia@The Bookworm.


9 comments:

  1. What a great excerpt! I cannot wait to read this. Just adding it to my Wish List right now. A good one!

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