I really like Paula Quinn's style but the last 3 books I read from her "Mist" series were rather disappointing. None of which lived up to the first book [b: Laird of the Mist|1530868|Laird of the Mist (MacGregors, #1)|Paula Quinn|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1331943549s/1530868.jpg|1522891]. However, [b: Tamed by a Highlander|20651023|Tamed by the Highlander|Emily Tilton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390995045s/20651023.jpg|39945679] convinced me again that this is one writer to follow.
The story is about 2 childhood sweethearts who fell in love with each other early in life. Connor, left Scotland at 18 to serve in the King's army. By that time Connor and Mairi had already known that they were for each other. Mairi being the headstrong, occassionaly pig-headed girl, never forgave Connor for leaving her. Connor wrote letters after letters for 4 years, begging Mairi to come to England to be with him. Never getting any response from Mairi, Connor finally gave up and stopped trying. Another 3 years later, they met again in London. Both were too proud to admit their feelings but the circumstances forced them to spend time together.
I think with me the characterization always comes first. I need to be able to establish some kind of connection with the lead characters for me to begin to like a book. Connor and Mairi are 2 characters with whom I had a strong connection with. Their personalities are well defined, feelings tangible, interactions fierce. I almost pitied Mairi because I am so like her, slow in forgiving because of pride, asking Connor to "try for as long as it takes" to win her back. She is lucky that Connor did. Isn't what is so great about romance novels? The hero does not give up and everything happens just so that they could spend time in each other's company. :D
Like most of Paula Quinn's books, history plays an important role. Religion conflicts, the fight for the throne, loyalty and betrayal. I could have done with less of that, really. But in this book Connor and Mairi's relationship is well developed and as a reader I did not mind all the political intrigue.
I want to say a little more about Connor and Mairi. Connor is a great hero. He is tough, sexy, condident, a little boyish, so in love with Mairi but is so so manly with his feelings. I am saying this because this is one hero who has always known his feelings and does not shy away from admitting them. But he doesn't act like a ninny when he professes his love (think heros in Maya Bank's highland romances, so sweet that I think I would vomit). Mairi is not my usual type. She is very very stubborn, too emotional and impulsive at times. She wields a sword and wants to fight like a man. All my major turnoffs. But Paula Quinn wrote her to have a even stronger soft side, which really made her pig-headedness easier to tolerate. All the writers who want to write a hero who is not an asshole but just as dashing and a heroine who is not a weeping damsel in distress but just as enticing, take a lesson from Paula Quinn.
I also think this book is more on the kinky side for Paula Quinn? lol With strong characters such as Connor and Mairi, both full of fire and will, tender sex just won't do.
I must say though, as much as I like Connor and Mairi, the plots were not as strong as the characterization, which is why I cannot say that this is a 5 star read. As usual, I am not generous with my stars.I think 4 stars are more than what the book deserves in terms of plot development. But the characters are just my cup of tea, which is the main reason why I enjoyed the book.