by Mary Wine
Series: Highland Weddings #1
Pub. Date: Feb. 2, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
In the throes of fierce clan wars, the Queen's Regent tricks the children of two feuding lairds into a desperate choice: marry or die. The union—however reluctant—of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families.
Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage. But she is rocked by the intense passion she feels for Bhaic—who is likewise taken aback by the fierce jealousy he experiences when he sees Ailis speaking with other men. Is it possible for fierce enemies to become ardent lovers?
Highland Spitfire is an enemies to lovers romance where our hero and heroine are forced to wed by the King's Regent to end a decades-old feud between the Robertson and MacPherson clans. While the Regent's intentions to end the feud were necessary, he definitely could have went about it better. The way the situation played out guaranteed a hostile situation between our couple and their clans.
Our heroine, Ailis Robertson, is the twenty-two year old laird's daughter who hasn't been in a particular rush to get married. Having the union thrust upon her to save the lives of her clan members provided a bleak overcast to what should have been a happy day for Ailis. I admired her courage for agreeing to wed her enemy - her altruism set a good example for both clans and showed that she was more mature than the thick-headed men determined to carry a grudge. But seriously - when aren't women the more mature ones??? I liked Ailis and had a decent emotional connection with her. Being forced into her enemy's territory where most looked on her with suspicion and misgiving was definitely hard for the girl, and those conflicts were where Mary Wine drew me into the story and made me sympathize with Ailis.
Our hero is Bhaic, is current Tanis of Clan MacPherson and heir to the laird. First of all, how the heck do you pronounce this name? Bake? Bike? Bach? It drove me a little batty. I really wish more books had a phonetic spelling the first time an uncommon or difficult name is introduced. Bhaic was a hard hero to love. Once he brings Ailis home to his clan, he doesn't do much to ease her transition or make her feel at home. In fact, he allows his brother Marcus to continually disregard Ailis' feelings and basically humiliate her and treat her like a spy. I wanted to kick both of the numpties in the shins repeatedly, and I would not have blamed Ailis if she would have run back home to her father.
While I enjoyed the story, there were just a couple things that didn't work for me. I didn't care for any of the MacPherson clan. At times, Ailis' attraction to Bhaic felt forced, particularly in the midst of arguments/spats. And along those same lines, the hot and cold aspect of the interactions were happening so rapidly that it left me feeling dizzy. They would be spitting at each other, then have a warm or amusing comment where you think things are turning around, but the next comment they are back to being spiteful. It got to be a little too much. And finally, once our couple finally consummates their marriage, the number of intimate scenes took over the story for a bit. While I always want a bit of sexytime in my romances, I found myself wanting to get back to the plot on this one. But other than that, I liked Ailis - and I really liked Helen. I liked the friendship that formed between the girls - both hostages in an enemy's territory - and I liked the way they stuck together against the thickheaded men. I am guessing that Helen will be the heroine of the next book so I am looking forward to that.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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