Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Highland Seer by Willa Blair

From the Back Cover:

Donal MacNabb is loyal to his adopted Lathan clan, yet he resents being a pawn in their treaty negotiations with the struggling MacKyries. The MacKyrie clan needs his skills as an arms master, but its Laird is bartering for more than Donal is prepared to give.

Ellie MacKyrie knows the Lathan treaty will help protect her clan from the neighbor determined to seize her holdings any way he can--including forcing her into marriage. But she has another reason to want the Lathan alliance. She has Seen the stubborn Donal MacNabb reaching for her in her dreams.

While Donal fights to save a clan in trouble, his desire for the MacKyrie Seer wars with his obligation to his Laird. Before she is forced into a marriage that will destroy her clan, Ellie must find the heart behind Donal's gruff exterior and convince him he is the man of her dreams.

My Thoughts:

Highland Seer is the story of Ellie MacKyrie, a strong and wise young woman gifted with the Sight, struggling to hold a failing clan together while fending off raids from neighboring clans and marriage proposals from rival lairds. So she's heartened when a band of strapping warriors arrives from a far-off clan offering an alliance treaty. But with them is the man of her dreams (literally), and while she thinks he is the answer to her prayers, he wants nothing to do with her beyond the formalities of a hostess and her guest. But Ellie is determined to do whatever it takes to protect the people of her clan, and she's not above driving a hard bargain for her clan's participation in the alliance treaty: a year of Donal MacNabb's services training her ragtag group of would-be warriors, and a year for her to convince him he's the only man for her. She has an uphill battle ahead of her on both counts: Donal is not pleased at being used as a political pawn, and though he is instantly attracted to the beautiful and brave laird of MacKyrie, he is frightened by her gift and intimidated by the power she wields. And the task of training the few able-bodied boys left to the clan after years of warfare is monumental. But the arrival of a powerful rival laird determined to make the MacKyrie his own convinces Donal of how vulnerable Ellie's position is, and what started as a reluctant alliance of convenience becomes a fight to the death--for his honor, for the clan he cannot abandon, and for the woman he loves.

The story is well written with fantastic description of the gorgeous MacKyrie valley and everyday life in a highland clan. Ellie's character is unique and engaging, and she's the first female laird I've encountered. But there is a lot of repetitive material that caused the story to drag in places, and Donal's continued excuses for resisting Ellie were flimsy to begin with and really started to wear thin as the plot and the chemistry between them progressed. The story started off strong and finished strong, but there was a missed opportunity in between for added conflict and drama, and for filling in some of the blanks in Donal's backstory, thus strengthening his character. But I was hooked on the story and rooting for our hero and heroine to find happily ever after, and I had to keep reading till the end to see how it all came together, even if I was a little annoyed at having to skim repetitive passages, and even if I did want to smack Donal upside the head a few times. I think this is different enough from other Highland romances to stand out from the pack, and I will read the others in this series. Ms. Blair's writing style is natural and evocative . . . I'll just hope for a little more meat and a little less fat in future installments.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars out of 5

*This review was originally posted to Romantic Historical Reviews.

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