I really must first confess that I am totally obssessed with Monica McCarty's stories. I like her writing, admire her ability to weave history with fictional characters, love how intense her characters are and their relationship is, how she always manages to show the internal struggle and make it seem real and unpretentious.
However I cannot honestly say that I cared for The Viper. I think all the elements that make me love Monica McCarty's books are there for Lachlan and Bella. It is not the book, it is me. (no matter how much of a cliche it is, it is the truth.) I did not really like Bella as a character and Lachlan.....was rather unremarkable.
My biggest problem with this book, was Bella. Bella was a mother to a 11-year-old daughter when she met Lachlan. Naturally the daughter played a pivotal role in their relationship and the book. And that is exactly why I had trouble connecting with her. I am not much for children, regardless of their age, in my romances. It is especially difficult if they are children of the lead characters. It is only natural for any parents to place their children before themselves. I would not expect any less than that. And that is usually how the stories turn out. He or she would sacrifice the relationship somehow for the sake of the children. This is not something I look for so I usually stay away from books like this.
But I love Monica McCarty. So I thought ah what the heck, I will read The Viper. Maybe McCarty's storytelling could help me overcome my mother-as-heroine wariness.
Well it didn't.
I also was not so crazy about how Bella thought the worst of Lachlan for the longest time. I mean yeah I know Lachlan was an ass and probably deserved her hostility. But seriously Bella was not exactly a loving flower in the spring to Lachlan either. She really acted kind of stupid because of her daughter, which is understandable but unattractive in my eyes. She made the choice to support Robert the Bruce, the decision put her and her daughter in danger. Yet she put herself and Lachlan and everyone else on the mission because she had to see her daughter......I mean lady, shouldn't you have thought about this before you made your decision? No one is liable to fulfill your wish. You don't want to be separated from your child, don't support the rebel king. You want to "do the right thing" then accept that you may lose your child because of that noble decision. Putting everyone else in danger because she "is a mother".......ugh it didn not sit well with me.
I digress. But I think it is evident what bothered me in this book. I did not like Bella as my heroine. That pretty up screwed up the story for me. Make her a widow, a "ruined" noble woman, make her whatever, it would have been better than a mother.
But for everything else, which I love, I give this book 3 stars with mild disappointment.