Monday, March 30, 2009

Highland Warrior by Monica McCarty

Book Description:
The ruthless enforcer of Scotland's most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell will use any means necessary to vanquish lawlessness and unrest among the feuding Highland clans. Seduction is a game as easily played as subterfuge, but when Jamie poses as suitor to a rival clan's daughter in order to expose treason, the line between duty and pleasure is suddenly blurred. Ebony-haired, ruby-lipped Caitrina Lamont defies him, denies him, and arouses him like no other woman. Caitrina has no intention of forsaking her beloved father and doting brothers for a husband - especially a hated Campbell. But Jamie's raw, sensual strength and searing kiss melt her resistance. When her idyllic world is shattered, Caitrina's only hope to save her clan lies in the arms of Jamie Campbell, the enemy she holds accountable for its ruin. Can their tenuous truce, born in the velvet darkness of passionate nights, forge a love as strong as the sword that rules the Highlands?

I must admit, I had a hard time getting into this book. Ordinarily, I love Monica McCarty, I'm a big fan of her last trilogy of books, but this was a darker sort of tale, and her hero and heroine just really drove me up a wall! It was the sort of Romeo and Juliet story of two people from opposing clans that are forced to marry for various reasons and the hatred between their clans prevents them from being able to give in to their love and face the inevitable choice of honor thy love or honor thy family. What to do? How to choose?

Another reason why I think I had a hard time with this book was because I read it in ebook format. This is the first book I've read that way. I was thrilled to download the Kindle application onto my iTouch a few weeks back, and this was the first book I downloaded! (see? I really am a fan of Monica McCarty!) It took me a few weeks to read because I only read it while working out at the gym or on the go, in line at the supermarket, or waiting for a meeting to begin, things like that. It wasn't my usual sort of style of reading, plus, I was reading other books at home during this period, and I'm not used to reading two books at once. Frankly, I'm monogomous when it comes to reading. One book at a time. But, I think as I get more and more used to this, I'll learn to read (or listen, I have some audiobooks on my iTouch as well) simultaneously with a book I'm reading in the comfort of my home.

But, back to the book...

Caitrina Lamont is the beautiful daughter of the chief of the Lamonts. Her clan is, unbeknownst to her, harboring the outlawed MacGregors and Jamie Campbell is the one that has to find them and bring them to justice. His cousin is the very powerful Earl of Argyll of the Highlands who is strict and known for his lack of mercy towards outlaws and those that go against him. Jamie is Argyll's "henchman" and hated throughout the Highlands. He meets Caitrina by chance and it's instant attraction on both parts. Yet, upon first meeting she doesn't know who he is. When she does find out, she hates him, and hates to admit she's in lust with him! For almost the entire rest of the book it's this love/hate predicament. She loves the fact he's so strong and handsome and the best warrior around, not to mention he makes her legs wobbly just looking at him - yet he's a Campbell! Her family hates the Campbells! He, on the other hand, is a bit more rational. He knows who she is from the start and wants her. His problem is he has to obey his cousin's commands which go against Caitrina's wants. If he finds out her father and brothers are protecting and hiding the outlaw MacGregors on their lands, he will have to bring them to justice and very likely they will hang. Caitrina comes across at first as a spoiled princess (as Jamie calls her), but before Jamie can try and work out a deal with her father to prevent the Lamonts from all being caught and hanged, her castle is attacked and burned and she loses her whole family in one fell swoop. She is humbled and traumatized and must deal with the fact she has nothing. Not only is she devastated by what has happened to her, the man responsible for it all was Jamie's brother!

Jamie has a solution to her problems - and to keep her castle - marry him. There's the undeniable fact they have this passionate "thing" between them, yet can their love in the bedroom overcome the feuding between their two clans? Can she ever trust him and respect him - truly love him - knowing he's a Campbell and brother to the man that killed her father and brothers? This is the big dilemma through the whole book that became quite tiresome, despite the hot love scenes between the two of them in bed. Because of what she has gone through in losing her family, Caitrina "grows up" and is no longer the spoiled princess of before, yet she still can't seem to get through her thick skull that Jamie is a good man and she should trust him no matter what. Everytime I thought she was going to give in to him and see the light, she'd go and do something that made it look like she didn't trust him and they'd have to start all over again! I found it very frustrating, it was like a one trick pony: Caitrina and Jamie kiss and make love and have passionate sex at night, yet during the day they have nothing but misunderstandings and stormy arguments with both of them storming off to their own corners of the ring. Are these two ever going to "get over it" and realize they love one another and that love trumps everything else?

I won't spoil the ending, but you've probably got a good idea of how it ends up. Still, despite my tepid reaction to this book, I'm still eager to read the other two in this trilogy!



VampFanGirl said...

Monogomous book reader. Ha! That sounds just like me. :) I have a hard time reading two at a time as well.

Yeah the whole passion by night and hatred by day bit does get old fast. It sounds like the majority of book is like that. Bummer.

I've never read anything by Monica McCarty. Which book would you recommend for a first time reader??

:) VFG

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

VFG - I'd start with her first, Highlander Untamed. Very hot and good plot, I enjoyed immensely! Another clan vs. clan and a forced marriage scenario, but this one was so much more entertaining and less angsty!

VampFanGirl said...

Alrighty then, 'Highlander Untamed' is going on my Amazon Wish List. Thanks for the recommendation Julie!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

VFG - I hope you like it, the third in that trilogy is great too, but the 2nd was kind of a dud for me (coincidentally, the hero in this current book I've reviewed was in that one too.) I say, skip the 2nd and go right for the 3rd.

Amy C said...

I had an issue with her first book in her first trilogy and have not wanted to pick up any more :). Good thing this one didn't sway you from wanting to read more.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Amy, that's right, I forgot you had an issue with it! Funny, how certain things can turn you off. I really loved that one, but didn't like her 2nd, but I still kept reading and wound up loving the third, so even though I was less than thrilled with this one, I've heard the 2nd is much better. We'll see...

Amy C said...

They are nice covers though :)

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