Friday, February 9, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Series:     Highland Fairytale #3
Pub Date:Sept. 20, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Ruth Urquhart
Length:9 hrs 30 min

The Lady and the Highlander is a recognizable retelling of Snow White. The Highland setting gave the story a unique twist, as did the villainous scheme of our heroine's evil stepmother. As this series has progressed, I have noticed more of a magical nature to the stories. While When a Laird Finds a Lass only had a touch of magic, this installment of the series was infused with magic and poison and a truly evil villain.

Laire Macleod is one of the twelve daughters of the Fearsome Macleod of Glen Uhler. When Laird Macleod marries again, strange things start happening. Laire's sisters are drinking all night and sleeping all day, and acting oddly birdlike. Her father is so besotted with his new wife than he can't spare a glance for his beloved daughters. And there is definitely something scary and unnatural about Laire's new stepmother (Bibiana) and her servants, even the intriguing huntsman. When Laire realizes what is happening, she has no choice but to flee the danger and find help from someone more experienced. Laire was a good heroine, determined to help her family no matter the danger to herself. I admired that. She was also able to see beneath the facade erected by our hero to see the good and honorable man beneath.

Laird Iain Lindsay has made some mistakes in his life, one of which found him bound for a period of servitude to a ruthless witch. Iain is so ashamed of the things that he has done that he has abandoned his family, clan and even his name, and is now known only as the Huntsman (Sealgair?). When Bibiana demands Laire's heart, Iain sets off to carry out his order, distasteful as he finds it. So Iain definitely starts off as an anit-hero, but we see him struggling with his actions from the beginning. I knew it wouldn't be long before Iain's true nature won over and he went from killer to rescuer for our heroine.

The romance between Laire and Iain was a slow burn given that he started off trying to murder her. I understood his guilt and disgust with himself, and got why he thought he needed to push everyone away and disappear. I was glad that Laire was able to thaw his frosty nature and make him see that he could be redeemed. 

Bibiana and her servants made for good villains and gave the story a darker theme than the previous books. The way the magic and poisons were being used were unique and interesting. Our seven dwarves representation were a ragtag group of child thieves hiding out and risking their lives in Edinburgh to make a living. I really liked the children, particularly Magpie and Young Kipper. 

Given that this is a relatively short book, the audio was really long. I don't think the narrator did a bad job, and I have enjoyed her work. But the audiobooks in this series seemed to drag for me. The performance was slow, and it didn't sound right when I tried to speed up the narration. So I listened at the pokey pace and found myself losing interest from time to time as I tried to rush to the end. So I think to the extent there are future books in the series, I will be reading those in print.

I voluntarily listened to an reviewed an advanced copy of this audiobook that I received from the publisher, Tantor Audio.

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