Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Are you tired of "wallpaper" historical romances where the only thing hinting at the stories' period setting is a date provided at the beginning of the book or some vague description of the characters' clothing? If you are, this book might be what you're looking for, as real characters and events play important roles in the story.
The year is 1685 and James of York has just ascended the throne of England as King James II, in a time when the fight for power between Protestants and Catholics is cause for big concern - and policital machinations. Lady Davina Montgomery is the Crown's most guarded secret, sent by her fearful parents to be raised as a Catholic by the sisters at St. Christopher's Abbey since her birth. She knows what she's to do when the time comes, but she must stay alive to fulfill her duty. Unfortunately, she's been betrayed by one of her most trusted friends and her enemies learn about her.
Luckily for Davina, Scottish highlander Robert MacGregor and his companions happen to be passing near St. Christopher's Abbey, on their way to England to attend the new King's coronation, when they notice the Abbey is under attack. They join the battle, but they soon realize that the siege has been going on for hours and there's nothing they can do to save the Abbey and the sisters. However, there's one single person left to save: Davina. A dying Captain Asher, leader of the English Army that's protected her for the last 4 years, asks Rob to take her to a new location where she will be safe again - or so he thinks.
Even though Rob doesn't know who Davina is and he's more than sure that she's got a lot of secrets that could harm him and his clan, his protective instinct - and something more, I might add :) - makes him take her under his care. As they travel north towards security, Rob and Davina begin to know each other better and, of course, fall in love with each other. Is there any chance of a HEA for them, though? Both of them have been raised to honor their responsibilities first and foremost. How can they cast that aside, choose a life together and risk endagering the lives of their families and friends?
I adored Rob and Davina! It was very refreshing to read about a couple who didn't shy away from their feelings and had no qualms admitting how much they loved each other. As much as I enjoy some H/h bantering - when it doesn't turn into bickering, of course - I loved seeing how Rob and Davina were so open and never doubtful about their emotions. The conflict in their relationship came from outside forces, never from mutual distrust or misunderstandings. How great is that? :)
The secondary characters were also very engaging. Rob's brothers and cousins were all fun to read about, and I'm sure they will be future heroes in this series. I especially liked fearless and bloodthirsty Colin, but he's still a tad too young and I don't think his book will be coming soon. I don't know how accurate King James's depiction was in this book, though. I've never met the man, LOL. Anyway, I could see why he didn't last long in the throne. I'm not implying he was weak, only that the opposing forces working against him were stronger and, well, better at scheming and manipulating.
All in all, I really enjoyed this read. Romantic, violent (Rob didn't hesitate to separate one of his enemies' head from the rest of his body), funny and highly entertaining. Plus, Rob and Davina have become one of my favorite couples in Romancelandia. I'll be perusing this author's backlist for more, I can tell you that.
Note: Even though this is oficially the 1st book in the Children of the Mist series, I felt I lost something by not having read Laird of the Mist (Rob's parents' story) and A Highlander Never Surrenders (Rob's father's friend Graham's story) first. Family connections were mentioned all the time in Ravished by a Highlander and it was a bit overwhelming. At one point, I had to stop reading and draw a chart to keep track of who was who.
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