2nd read on 27.11.2015
I will stay with my 2 stars review. Something is missing in Ewen and Janet. I don't know what, but that took out all the magic. Writing is as wonderful as usual. I just can't warm up to the characters. I felt like watching them going through the motions, no strong pull or chemistry
Review after first read in Oct 2015:
I am beginning to think that it is the of Mar sisters that I don't like. I did not like Mary of Mar, the heroine from The Recruit, and I do not like Janet of Mar, the heroine of this book, either. Monica McCarty weaves her stories masterfully as she usually does. But I just cannot connect with Mary and Janet.
Janet of Mar, was 27 years old in this book. She met Ewen as a nun while she was serving as a "courier" for Robert the Bruce, carrying important messsages for his political campaign. Apparently she was feisty and independent and all that wonderful things that a woman wants to be (I do not aspire to be like that but it seems to be the populr opinion). She wanted to "do her bit" for her country and on a mission she met Ewen, who was part of Bruce' secret army.
I do not know what was missing in this book for me. I did not like Janet as a character. I think a "beauty in disguise" heroine is hard to swallow for me. Her twin sister Mary in The Recruit also pretended to be plain and ugly. And I did not like her either. Ewen is by far the most boring male lead in Monica McCarty's highland guard series. His character was not very memorable, which came as a surprise for me. If anything I think Monica McCarty always paints a vivid picture for her characters. I was very shocked to find Ewen so uncharacteristically plain. It is as if he did not have a personality other than insisitng that a woman's place is to be somewhere safe and look after the household and babies.
Ewen and Janet did not attract me as a couple. Not being able to establish a connection to either character, I find their sexual tensoin non-existent as well. Their first kiss was when Janet was still posing as a nun. And I almost dropped my Kindle when that happened because Ewen kissed Janet OUT OF NOWHERE. I was like what just happened?? Why the kiss? There was no prelude, nothing. I did not even think Ewen liked Janet. It was that abrupt for me.
I so wish I enjoyed the book but I think as the series goes on, Monica McCarty must find new character types for her new books. They cannot all be the same. The male leads are all alpha male types, so there is little she could work with. That places the heroine in the front of the line to appeal to readers' interests. And I am afraid that Mary and Janet of Mar did not capture my heart. Having read reviews on the next book, The Arrow, I doubt I would like the book because of the heroine. I think it is good that the women knew what they wanted. It is just, I wish they were not so "uninhibited" with their affections. Imagine that it was a war, the guys were retreating and the women just kept marching on. There was no tug-of-war. It was an all out attack from the women's side. It is not my style and I have a hard time relating to that.