Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tempting the Highlander by Janet Chapman

Book Description:
She has the power to tempt him beyond all reason....

Catherine Daniels arrives in Pine Creek, Maine, at just the right time for Robbie MacBain. She is on the run from her ex-husband, and Robbie is a sexy, single foster parent who needs a housekeeper while he travels back in time to medieval Scotland. Unbeknownst to Catherine, Robbie's looking for a book of spells to save the future of his family...and little did he expect to find a burning passion in Catherine's arms. Can Robbie seal his family's fate while enticing Catherine to follow him and her own heart wherever love will take them?

Have you ever read a book that you absolutely loved and you're so caught up with the characters and setting that you just don't want the book to end? And then, even better - it's part of a series, and the next book is already written and sitting in your TBR pile and you can keep on reading about these wonderful people and places? But, before long as you begin reading it, you realize this next book isn't nearly as good as the previous one, and it's kind of a let down? Well, that's what happened to me today with Tempting the Highlander. I loved Wedding the Highlander, which I finished yesterday. With no hesitation, I decided to put off reading a TBR Challenge book for a day, so I could read the next in this Pine Creek series by Janet Chapman.

I should have waited. I should have known it wouldn't live up to the euphoria left over from the previous book. It wasn't bad, mind you, but it was an entirely different sort of story.

This was the story of Robbie, the son of Michael MacBain, the sexy Scottish highlander hero from the last book that I fell for. Robbie was an adorable 8 year old boy in the last book, and now he's grown up and is about 30 years old. (There's never any year mentioned in this book, so I'm not sure if we're supposed to think it's the future, like around 2028, it just never comes up.) Robbie is the guardian of his family in a magical way and literally. He's a bachelor, living in his mother's old farm house and is foster father to four unruly teenage boys and in desperate need of a housekeeper. By chance, Catherine Daniels and her two children come into his life and he hires her. The boys and Robbie take to her immediately and she fits right in with her two little kids, Nathan and Nora. She's a godsend to him, and at the same time, he's just what she needs since she's fleeing from her abusive ex-husband who just got out of prison for beating her up.

Pretty serious themes going on here for a romance, wouldn't you say? It's a compelling story, but came up short in the romance department. Catherine is emotionally and physically scarred from her ex-husband and nervous and apprehensive about starting up any relationships, yet she is attracted to Robbie. But, she has to face her demons and get over her ex before she can really find happiness again, physically, with a man. Still, if there was anyone she could find to help her, it's Robbie MacBain. As usual in these books, providence and destiny is a strong theme. These two people are meant for one another. Robbie is the perfect modern day man. (Except for the fact he has 6 toes on each foot like his father!) A towering, handsome, well built warrior with the heart of a lion and a slight Scottish accent (from his father), he's great at fighting and taking care of others. That's what he does in addition to his logging business. Plus, he has this beautiful farm house on a lake with a barn and chickens and woods! All he needs is a wife! He and Catherine fall into an easy relationship that soon turns to flirtation and then eventually some toe-curling kisses. But, that's about as far as it goes until the end of the book!

Meanwhile, Robbie has an important and challenging task that he must do for Father Daar (the wizard priest from the previous books.) He has to travel back in time to Scotland in the thirteenth century to find this book of spells to save his uncles and father! This is a new twist in the books, no one has actually gone back in time before in them. So, we get to see Robbie put all his warrior training into use, and on one of his trips, Catherine, inadvertently goes back with him. She's freaked out at first, but becomes used to 13th century living. Robbie's uncle Ian goes back with him too, and it's a moving situation as he is reunited with his family.

I found this book had some fun little scenes and humorous moments, I liked it how Catherine liked to run in short shorts and all the logging trucks would honk at her, and there was a priceless scene when she's shopping for personal incidentals for Robbie and the boys! I liked Cat (as Robbie calls her) well enough too, and she turned out to be a resourceful and courageous woman at the end when she finally faces her demons and her ex. But, still I didn't really warm up to her and there didn't seem to be a lot of chemistry between her and Robbie. I think it was mostly because she was in this housekeeper role most of the time in the book or worrying about her ex-husband finding them. It wasn't a very romance-y book.

I liked it well enough, but it didn't have me wishing for more. It was a happy ending, though predicatable which left it kind of flat. I think the story was so focused on Robbie's duty as a guardian and Catherine's duties as a mother and getting her life back that it didn't leave a lot of room for romance and relationship building as lovers. But, don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, but as I said before, just different from the last book, and I didn't get the same sort of emotional punch in this one as I did with the first in the series either. To each his own, give me more sizzle and less serious overtones. I prefer something lighter when I'm reading a romance.



Barbara said...

Wonderful review. I've been there where I wished a story wouldn't end. This story sounds like a good one. I've heard the authors name a few times before. I think maybe I should look into a few of her stories.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Oh yes, they're good books, but some are really wonderful great books, and some are just okay, kind of hit or miss, but I do plan on reading her entire backlist eventually.

Amy C said...

Oh! I loved Tempting the Highlander. I wish you liked it better. I thought that scene with Robbie and Cat, sfter she breaks up the fight with the kids and then they go to the barn...I thought it was fabulous. I read it a few times and got that hitch each time! But that's okay. I'm still only about halfway through Only With a Highlander. You read Tempting quickly :).

At least it wasn't so bad you decided not to read any more of her books!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Amy, I'm sorry, I know you loved Tempting, but it just didn't to it for me. As I said in my review, I think the fact I loved Wedding so much made it a let down. But, oh yes, I'm definitely reading the rest of the series! It's not like I didn't like it, it just didn't have that sizzle in their relations (aka: sex) like the other one ;).

Amy C said...

I just noticed on the side bar, the books that are listed for Scottish reads. You read Susan King's Maiden books? I read those a few years ago. I enjoyed them. If you liked those, you might like Gerri Russell. She has a trilogy. Each book stands alone. It's only a trilogy because she took three stones from Scottish lore and based her story around each one. They were very good. Very low on the steam scale, but I really enjoyed the stories. I think the first one, The Warrior Trainer, is my favorite. She has another series coming out this year. Set in Scotland also, with the Templar Knights.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Amy, I haven't read King's books yet, they're on my TBR list for this year. I've been meaning to read them for the past two years. Thanks for the recs on the others, I will look into Gerri Russell. I also love anything with the Templar Knights! Have you read Linda Howard's Son of the Morning? I loved it!

Amy C said...

No, I havne't read anything by Linda Howard. I did just look up Son of the Morning on amazon and it sounds really good. One of these days I'll have to have the bookstore order it for me. I doubt it will be on the shelf :).

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Well, I have a copy of it if you want me to send it to you, whenever you want. Let me know! I wrote my review on it here, a very exciting book!

Amy C said...

Oh, Julie, that would be wonderful if you wanted to pass it on to me :). I wonder if I have anything to offer you in return?

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