Thursday, December 3, 2009
He is Xanthier O'Bannon--cast out Scotsman, marauding sea captain, feared by all. He has lost his land and birthright--and has nothing left but pride and a lust for revenge. She is Alannah - a blind, ethereal beauty with an uncanny affinity for the horses that roam wild across the island she calls home. Raised by a strong woman, Alannah has known nothing but peace in her soul...
But when a violent storm casts Xanthier ashore, Alannah innocently surrenders to an untamed desire. And Xanthier makes a promise to protect her--never suspecting how that simple vow will transform his life...
Uggh, another book that has been on my TBR list for over a year and I'd heard such good things about this one! Unfortunately, I was misled.
The heroine, Alannah, is blind and lives on an island with only an old woman who found her when she was a baby. Alannah grows up having no idea who she really is or what were the circumstances of her being set adrift in a small boat as a young baby. She's incredibly naive when it comes to the rest of the world, but on her own island, which is off the coast of Scotland, (which no one has discovered yet, amazingly enough) she is an expert rider of wild horses and can pretty much take care of herself. Her blindness is not a hindrance to her in most matters, she gets on fine without eyesight.
Then enters our hero. Xanthier is shipwrecked and winds up on the island. To put it bluntly, he is a jerk. I didn't like him at all. But, miraculously, when he meets Alannah, and later discovers she is blind, (it takes him forever to even realize it, btw) he is instantly attracted to her and her blindness and they frolic together and she teaches him how to be blind too and use his senses blindfolded as they skip through the forest. La-dee-da. In real life, (aka in Scotland) Xanthier is a cruel Scottish warrior with a secret of why he has nothing to do with his family and gone to sea. But, on the island, he is tranformed! He is a kinder and gentler warrior. Eventually, the old woman that raised Alannah dies, and Xanthier and Alannah become lovers. She takes to it like a duck to water - she seems to be quite a natural at sex - lucky for Xanthier.
Anyway, before long, his men who have been in search of Xanthier find him on the island and that's when Xanthier loses any gentleness he gained on the island and becomes the ugly warrior again - literally. He sustained some injuries in the shipwreck so his face is burned and he has a large hideous scar - but Alannah can't see it, how convenient she is blind. But, hell bent on obtaining Alannah's island (for her) and going back there to live with her, he basically kidnaps Allanah (and her horse) and takes them to Scotland and keeps her locked up on his ship while he takes care of some business with the King of Scotland, such as asking his permission to marry her and go live on the island. Of course, does he tell her of his intentions? No! She is naturally furious with him and now hates him (well, not really, but she's very angry with him!) Blind though she is, she escapes with her horse and miraculously winds up running into Xanthier's five year old daughter who he has nothing to do with and has left in the care of his twin brother. Alannah befriends the little girl and is taken in by Xanthier's brother (though they have no idea Alannah knows Xanthier) and he and his wife help her find her long lost family and solve the mystery of her origins.
She's taken to the King's court and there she and Xanthier meet again, and she finds out she's an hereiss! Lots of confusion, miscommunication and subterfuge abounds. A plot to kill her and a daring horserace become part of the plotline in which she rides her horse (blind!) to try and keep her island. The nasty (former) heir to her estate now hates her (hence, the murder plot), but he too is struck by her beauty and instead of killing her, he forces her to agree to marry him or else he'll kill Xanthier, whom she still loves. Why she loves him I don't know, other than the fact he's the first man she's ever come into contact with and the sex is great. I'm sure having sex with him whenever they are alone together helps his case, despite the fact he's such a jerk and puts his foot in his mouth whenever he's around Alannah. Out of love, she agrees to marry the awful ousted heir (whose name I cannot remember) and there is lots of angst, a fight and a somewhat predictable ending. I won't bore you further with the details. This was a waste of my time. The writing itself wasn't bad, but I could not get past the fact I couldn't relate to the hero or the heroine. She was a strong woman, yet totally caved at the idea that this ogre could kill Xanthier so easily. As I've said before, I didn't care for Xanthier at all and it was hard to buy into the idea that when he's on the island he's no longer a jerk. Yeah, right, how long will that last once they're married?
Although I stuck with it, I'm sorry this romance wasn't better after having been on my list forever, but I read it quickly (less than 2 days), finished it, and I can chalk up another for my TBR list. Ergh!