Monday, February 24, 2014

ARC Review: The Warrior's Bride

The Warrior's Bride (Lairds Of The Loch #3)

by Amanda Scott


Robert MacAulay, heir to the influential Baron of Ardincaple, will risk everything to help his father and his clan. But when Rob becomes involved in a legal tempest stirred by an irresistibly maddening lady, his mission is threatened before it begins . . .
Lady Muriella MacFarlan is impulsive, mercurial, and sometimes illogical. She is a spinner, not just of yarns and threads but also of stories. She can gild the lily or tell a half-truth. When her active imagination lands her in the suds, she's forced to turn to the ever truthful and blunt-spoken Rob for help. Their destinies now entwined, Rob and Muriella may discover that love is one truth that cannot be denied . . .

Themes: Historical, Highlands

Rating: 3 stars

Heat Rating: 


The Lairds of the Loch have finally all found their loves and everyone is back where they belong.  The series has been interesting and full of drama, with love, danger, and action driving each individual story and the overall trilogy arc as well. I have enjoyed the series to this point and was glad to see everyone find their HEAs and an overall happy ending for everyone in the area of the Loch. Scott has a unique writing style and I have enjoyed reading her stories about these three sisters and the special powers that they use to keep themselves and their family safe. The stories of these three amazing sisters have kept my interest and the vivid imagery and details of the land they call home make me feel like I was able to travel these beautiful lands with them.  I’m not sure I would pick up another Scott series right away, because they are very intense, but Murie’s story did at least have some levity as she fumbled her way into a marriage and ultimately into love.
The story revolves around the impulsive actions of Muriella, actions that ultimately land her in some serious hot water.  She is determined to live her life differently that other noblewomen of her day—she wants to be a story teller. She has dedicated herself to learning and sharing the stories of her clan and others, but her imagination and tempestuousness often leads her into dangerous situations. When she encounters Rob on one such spontaneous outing she is immediately angry that he sends her home, tattling on her to her father, and getting her punished.  Deciding to get payback, she sets out to seduce him just to plan to turn him away, but her plan goes awry big-time when she is kidnapped by their long-time foe Dougal, son of the man that usurped her father’s lairdship two decades before.  During the ensuing madness of Murie’s rescue she suddenly finds herself bound to Rob in matrimony and neither of them can escape those consequences. As they work to overcome their differences and build a marriage, trouble is lurking around the corner and only by working together can everything come to a happy ending. 
Rob was a pretty decent guy, one with his own unique ideas about being noble and living his life to the best.  He is a strong willed man, always willing to jump in and help someone, but he keeps himself from others and lives a very private life.  His mother is a master manipulator, his past is disheartening when it comes to love, and his future looks to be bleak, but he never gives in and always fulfills his responsibilities.  He tries to deny any desire for Murie, working hard to see her as just the annoying young girl he always has, but it is obvious she has grown physically, if not always obviously in maturity.  When he pushes her away he never imagines he will be pushing her into such a dangerous situation, so he immediately sets out to rescue her and make up for his mistake. Murie on the other hand has very little regard for the penalties for her mistakes; she has her parents wrapped around her finger, so even when they punish her it’s never very severe, she always seems to come out of every mess just fine.  Faced with a man who demands she grow-up, Murie is infuriated that she can’t charm or cajole her way out of trouble.  Kidnapping never seemed like a possible consequence and certainly not being tried for a crime she never could have even committed. Luckily Rob is able to save her in time, but now she has a new sentence to fulfill, one that will last a lifetime, being Rob’s wife.  Seeing them interacting was interesting, with Rob’s taciturn nature and Murie's sunny charm, each characteristic bleeding over onto the other, they find a balance that will make them a happy and strong couple for life.  They also worked well together, ruling their people, thwarting dastardly deeds, and ultimately returning her father to his rightful place in their clan. 
The ending to this trilogy was chock-full of strange and unlikely circumstances, events that were dangerous and difficult to escape, and even a bit of hilarity.  The “courtship” between Rob and Murie was certainly unorthodox but a laugh riot to be sure, with desire and disagreement, and attempts by those around them to manipulate both Rob and Murie for their own desires. Ultimately I think they were a good match, complementing one another, while having enough differences to incite passion and desire, but not cause any true rifts between them.  It was amazing to see Murie helping the men in her life as they worked to return her father to his place in the clan, and seeing her addressing the King was entertaining as well.  I liked the story all together, and taken with the others in the trilogy, but I can’t say I was blown away by the romance of the story (or the trilogy for that matter).  The historical and dramatic angles of the story were intriguing, the interactions between families and clans enlightening, and it was good to see men with open minds accepting the sisters as they truly were, but I never felt a true connection to any of the couples’ romances and I was missing that bit of spark.  Personally I didn’t love the series, but I did like reading the stories very much, and the secondary characters and their antics were enough to keep me interested, so I say give the series a shot for yourself and see how you feel.  The writing is good, the characters are fascinating, and the drama of the Clan MacFarlan is enough to keep me reading, but if you’re looking for a hot or steamy historical, you might not find what you’re looking for here.

 *eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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