When a Scottish laird rescues a woman from a rival clan in 1452, the pair’s connection is immediate. But the secrets she carries could lead to war sooner than anyone expected.
Darach MacKenzie is a good laird. Fostered at a young age to a wise laird from another clan, he learned how to take care of his people and his land. He's determined not to take a wife, though, thanks to having been betrayed in his youth, a betrayal that led to many deaths. But when he rescues Caitlin MacInnes, who's unconscious and bound to a horse, from the rival Fraser clan, he begins to question that decision. Caitlin is young, innocent, and impulsive, and Darach vows to let no one hurt her as long as he is able. Caitlin herself immediately bonds with her savior as the combination of injury and infatuation makes it impossible for the two to be separated—except when Caitlin is playing Disney princess with the animals of the forest. Unfortunately, scorned lovers, family secrets, and tribal warfare make it hard to keep promises in a world where a lack of the correct information can lead to death. In the first of five books of the Sons of Gregor MacLeod series, McLayne (The D’amici Mistake, 2016, etc.) introduces readers to a world of castles and clan warfare, setting up the other four heroes for their own stories in the process. While compelling, the book is a frustrating combination of historical detail and creative license. Perhaps as a reminder that the setting is the Scottish Highlands, overwrought Scots vernacular is used in dialogue ("I doona rightly know") even though it's been indicated that everyone is speaking in Gaelic, not English. And yet, the story still lacks a sense of place that might have added to the compelling love story and warfare.
An entertaining yet frustrating introduction to an extended family of lovelorn Highlanders.