This is a highly entertaining book which requires minimal emotional investment. I enjoyed the read immensely for its tension and fast pace. I also enjoy Ms. Cole's writing a lot. She is not that kind of writers who show and tell you everything about the characters. She is on the other side of the spectrum. I find myself wondering what she meant at times because she implies and hints quite a bit. But she leaves you wondering and imagining. Isn't that what fictions are supposed to do?
This is the story of the 2nd brother of the MacCarrick brothers. I read the the story of the youngest brother, Courland first, like it well enough but didn't "enjoy" it as much. But I like Ms. Cole's style so I went on to this book and came across Hugh and Jane in this book.
Ms. Cole does a rough Scot hero justice. Hugh MacCarrick is THE quintessential Highlander. Whatever that makes these Highlanders so hot, he's got it. But what really made the book for me, is Jane Weyland. Very often these "wild" heroines make me flinch at their "boldness". The writers make these "independent" and "forward-thinking" women throw themselves at the men, do really shameless things and call that "being modern" and "having a spine". In my dictionary, that is called being cheap and eager. Some of the Amanda Quick's heroines are prime examples.
But not Jane. Jane is the first and only "wild and liberate" heroine who I actually respect. She is portrayed as wild and daring but never cheap or eager. There is a graceful air about her, about the way she is written in this book. I would fall in love with her, if I was a man. A woman who is confident but reserved, bold but graceful, knows what she wants and goes for it, but never in the process shows that she is insecure. That is the problem with a lot of heroines in the romance novels for me. So very often these heroines' "wild ways" are just the other side of insecurity. They are somehow "outcasts" of the society and resolve to being spinsters. They claim they do not want marriage or love or pretty clothes or male attention, they chase after adventures after adventures because they want their "independence". All of which are frequently just acts rooted in a sense of insecurity and unworthiness. Not Jane Weyland. Here is a heroine, who knows she is attractive and loved but feels rejected by the only man she has loved. She is amazing. I rarely gush so much about a heroine. Jane has truly captured my heart.
The entire story is about how Hugh could not be with Jane but has been in love with her for over 10 years. He refused to see her for his own reasons and firmly believed that he is doing it for her own good. Jane had loved Hugh for as long as Hugh had loved her. Neither had ever said as much to each other. So they spent their youth pining for and apart from each other. Circumstances made Hugh return to Jane and marry her temporarily. Then they started running away from dangers. Hugh continued to refuse to surrender to desires and wants. Jane continued to despair because she could not understand why Hugh seemed to like her a lot but refused to be close to her.
The plot is straight forward and rather simple. This means the entire story is about the romance and how they struggled with fate, lust and longing. I would not call this a love story. But it is very much an intense romance that will make you hold your breath for the next page.