Friday, July 15, 2016

ARC Review: Maclean's Passion by Sharon Cullen

Series:     Highland Pride #2
Pub. Date:June 28, 2016
Length:295 pages

This second installment of the Highland Pride series picks up not long after the first, Sutherland's Secret. Our hero sacrificed himself to save Eleanor, Brice Sutherland's bride, and now finds himself as a prisoner of the English. With repeated beatings, lung sickness, and only a mute young boy for company in his cell, Colin's outlook is bleak indeed. 

Colin Maclean was the youngest sibling of the Maclean clan, never expecting to lead his people. He was a holy terror growing up and, as an adult, has a reputation for shirking his duties. After losing both brothers in Culloden, he has now inherited responsibilities that he never accounted for. His past behavior makes him ashamed to face his people, and he has inadequacy issues for being told all his life that he would end up no good. Colin was an okay hero... he had most of the necessary highlander characteristics. However, his self-doubt and moping were a little much at times. 

Maggie Sinclair is not your typical Highland heroine. Having been raised to do as she pleased by her elder brother, Maggie never lost her heathen ways and prefers trousers to skirts and fighting to household tasks. She's as good with a horse and sword as many Highland men, and she has no inclination to change her ways despite her brother's directives. When Ethan tells Maggie that she must marry, she runs off in a fit of pique to fight in the Battle at Culloden. She ends up captured and in a different kind of danger having to hide her gender from the men in the English prison camp. I liked Maggie and her uniqueness... it was awesome to see her stand up to the men and best some of them in swordplay. Her naivete and uncertainty was endearing as well when it came to her feelings for Colin and their relationship. 

The relationship between Colin and Maggie was slow-going. He seemed to treat her as more of a little sister at times than a romantic interest. So I wasn't feeling any chemistry between them. I did enjoy their bickering though, and Colin's exasperation with Maggie could be funny at times. I wish we could have seen more of Maggie as Colin's wife and lady of the keep. I would be interested to see if she tried to become more feminine at all or take on more wifely duties once they were installed at Maclean Keep.

The conflicts with the English were interesting, though I'm not sure how historically accurate this type of behavior was for the time. In all historical accounts I have read tondate, it seems like the Scots were really beat down following Culloden, and the Redcoats were really running roughshod over anyone who opposed them. So I'm not sure if the English would have allowed their soldiers to be run out of Maclean Keep without severe retaliation. But who knows, I could be wrong. 

As in the first book, no one quite knows Campbell's allegiance or motivations. This is raising the expectations for his book, which is the next installment. I hope it comes with lots of intrigue, action, and chemistry between the characters. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Highland Pride