WHEN A LAIRD TAKES A LADY
Disclosure: E-Galley provided by publisher via Net Galley for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
In the Highlands of Scotland, honor and loyalty are worth more than life itself. But when a haunted woman meets a wronged warrior, love will prove more powerful than anything they have ever known.
Isabail Grant has had to be strong all her life. Over the years, she has lost everyone close to her, and now she’s seeking justice for her brother’s murder. But en route to Edinburgh to petition the king, she is kidnapped by a fierce warrior—and is shocked to find herself irresistibly drawn to her captor.
Aiden MacCurran is an outlaw. The laird of a small clan, he’s been falsely accused of killing the king’s courier and stealing the Crown’s property—and the key to clearing his name and redeeming his clan lies in Isabail’s memories. But Aiden and Isabail must first weather deceit and treachery before they can find the truth and claim the love that’s growing between them…. Rowan Keats
This story grabbed me immediately with the paradox of how it is going to be possible to overcome the way this couple meets with the probability they will hook up. It’s a romance novel, so the way that’s going to go is in the book description, but still I was immediately hooked. I mean, it’s always possible it’s going to go another way, right?
Quick note under “Is a Title Important?” I heard the first measure of “When a Man Loves a Woman” the entire time I read this book. And I bring it up now because every time I see the cover it starts up again!
As the case against the MacCurran chief comes to light, it obviously has a ton of holes in it. Today, it wouldn’t stand up in court, but I have a good idea things were very different then. This story would have been under the rule of Alexander III whose second wife was Queen Yolande who is mentioned in the book. His first wife, Margaret of England, was the daughter of the English monarch Henry III who demanded homage. This is obliquely referenced in the story. Alexander III died in 1266, just a year after his marriage to Yolande while traveling in bad weather to visit her for her birthday. Just for the heck of it, here’s an illustration from the period depicting Alexander III’s coronation as King of the Scots ( read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_III_of_Scotland) .
That picture gives you a much better idea of the time period of the novel than the very romantic book cover. However, I felt the representation of life in a colder, draftier, and much more dangerous world than ours was well represented. Keats takes time to explain what a woman’s role in a castle would be and what could happen if that person slacked off. And she does this with perfectly accessible, non-accented language, sometimes the Gaelic names are a mystery of pronunciation but I just imagine how they would be pronounced.
There are a few mystical elements to the story. Some of the healers have magical powers that are cool, and very useful in a place where a simple cut could fester and kill you.
The story’s timeline fits into the days and nights allotted to it but it feels like it should be accounted for as a longer period of time. That feeling probably arises due to the speed with which the relationship develops. There’s good foreshadowing: enough to give me an inkling of what would be happening, but not so much that I would think the characters stupid for not seeing it. A lot of this story has to do with trusting the wrong person and being betrayed. Big time. It does answer some of the questions in the story, but I assume the story will continue as loose ends remain and it will affect the relationship between these two characters. And it does bring up the question of how Isabail and Aiden would know who they could trust; and how they could come to trust each other. That brings me back to the initial paradox that grabbed my attention.
I will definitely try to read the follow up; hoping for an answer to the mystery! I recommend this as a good romance with mystical elements and reasonable historic veracity while maintaining its relatability.