Saturday, May 23, 2009

Claiming the Highlander by Kinley MacGregor

Book Description:
It is said that Braden MacAllister, English baron and proud Highlander warrior, can fell an enemy with a single blow -- and a woman with a single kiss. But not Maggie, it seems. For the fire-haired beauty, determined to end the long running feud that rages between their clan and it's common foe, is immune to Branden's attempts to stop her foolishness. But stop her he will, once he gets the meddling minx alone... and favors her with a passionate caress and an irresistible kiss. No matter how she trembles beneath Braden's sensuous touch, Maggie must not yield! As long as this feud continues, the lives of her brothers are at stake. And though Braden is known to have bedded many a lass, he has given his heart to none. But dare she dream that by assuring peace for her clan she may also be claiming the most magnificient Highlander for herself?

I had high hopes for this book, it has been on my TBR list for almost a year and after reading it for a while I came to the conclusion that it was surprisingly dull. Unusual for me, since I love Highlanders, and I loved the first book in this series about the MacAllisters, Master of Desire. This book had it's moments and good points (the sex scenes were tops!), but the plot itself was slow and plodding, taking forever for the real plot of the story to get going and the heroine could be really dense at times, another damsel under the impression that she is not pretty or good enough for the hero to fall for. Grr! Of course, she couldn't be further from the truth, but it takes the whole book for both hero and heroine to realize this.

This is the story of the young, handsome ladykiller, Braden MacAllister who finally meets his match in little Maggie, the girl he grew up with and played with as playmates. Never having considered her in a romantic light before, he finds he is now attracted to her and he is in a conundrum. He wants to bed her and thinks of it constantly, but he is not the marrying kind and he doesn't want to dishonor her by not marrying her afterwards. Why? I never quite understood why Braden felt he could not ask her to marry him. What was stopping him? This was a sticky point for me through the whole book! Is he so convinced he's incapable of loving only one woman? She has loved him her entire life, she'd marry him if she thought he could be monogamous, but she doesn't believe he is capable of it. Still, if there is one man who could talk her into losing her maidenhood, it's Braden, her Achilles Heel. Will she lose her virginity for a few nights of passion with him, knowing all too well he'd never be faithful to her?

Maggie is a red headed spitfire that wants to stop the feuding between her clan (the MacAllisters) and the MacDonalds. Too much blood has been shed between both clans and she has convinced all the women of both clans to lock themselves up in their respective castles, refusing to feed or bed their men folk until the feuding is over. The men are naturally upset and fed up - and angry as hell at Maggie for putting the women up to this idea. They capture the MacAllister laird, Lochlan, the eldest of the MacAllister brothers, Braden (our hero) being the youngest. They tie him up and tell Braden and his other brothers that they will kill Lochlan in four days if they don't get the women to give up their foolish plan.

Braden and his half-brother, Sin (he has his own book later) join ranks with Maggie and they travel on foot to the MacDonald castle to try and stop the feuding. It takes several days to get there and on the way, Maggie and Braden have a sort of courtship. Mostly, Braden winds up seducing Maggie, which isn't hard since she's already head over heels in love with him, but his conscience keeps getting in the way, and he finds his honor will not let him deflower her - until she takes the bull by the horns and doesn't take no for an answer. She is convinced it might be her last night alive on Earth and figures she better make the most of it! They finally make love (and it was very well done, if I must say so myself), but then there is more of the "He'll never marry me now" scenarios, where both think the other one doesn't care about them, blah, blah, blah, miscommunication, awkward moments, and more lovemaking when they get the chance. As much as both the characters were kind of charming in their own individual ways, they were annoying because they were so stupid! Their journey seemed to take forever, but it all ends predictably and Maggie gets her man in the end.

I expected more from this book. The character development was weak and there wasn't much sexual tension between the hero and heroine. Where there could have been some funnier drawn out scenes, such as when Maggie had to pretend she was a young man fighting off a horny farmer's daughter, they were cut and fizzled out. Braden winds up being misunderstood, he's really not as big a womanizer a la Errol Flynn as we are led to believe at first, in fact, he is depicted as the victim of women who are constantly throwing themselves at him (that's a first!) For a smart and clever highlander, he was amazingly dim when it comes to his own feelings, his brother Sin could see what was happening easily, but then they say love is blind - in this case, I'd have to agree. Plus, we never really get the low down on why he is an English baron, his back story is foggy and unclear.

Still, if you are a fan of Highlander medieval romances, give it a try, I have high hopes for the future books, especially about Sin's who was raised in England, he has a sad and dark story of his own.



Blodeuedd said...

They actually do sound annoying, and some things you bring up are so strange. Sure the book sounds nice, but the question is if I would get too annoyed

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I bet you'd get annoyed at it too! LOL! Plus, the whole plotline of the women wanting to stop the feud and locking themselves up in the castle - it was so ridiculous! As if that would ever really happen during the time of Henry II?

ibeeeg said...

I love reading these type of books but at the same time they frustrate me. They are usually formula type reads which tend to bore me at some point in the reading. Why do I keep reading them? I usually like the main character(s) for some reason and hopefully the plot line is somewhat entertaining. If those two factors are not present, then forget it. I will be avoiding this book you have just reviewed.
Do I sound harsh? Hope not. :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

iebeeeg, no not too harsh, you just sound like someone who knows not to waste their time on a book that they won't enjoy. *unlike me* I have heard such fabulous things about this author, I really expected this to be a great read! Quelle disappointement! I have to become more choosy - I'm learning, slowly - but I'm learning!

Barbara said...

Aw, sorry you didn't like this one, Julie. I know how you love your Medievals! Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor was a good one. If you haven't read it you might want to give it a try.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Barb, that's okay, they all can't be good, I was just so surprised, since I thought it was going to be great! I'm looking forward to reading Sin's story, it's on the list!

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