I think this is a typical Scottish romance story with a very tough hero laird and a damsel in distress from a enemy clan."I love you", "I cannot love you", "I am doing this for your own good", this sort of things.
The hero comes from an outlawed clan, being despised and hunted by all highlanders. The heroin is raised to hate his clan because she was told that his clan is responsible for her losing her family. They met, hero saved heroin, knowing she is from the enemy clan. They of course hate each other in the beginning and this went on for a while. I am however relieved that Paula Quinn did not spent too many pages on how they despise each other because of family feuds. Constant bickering gets so old so fast.
Cliche it may be, but i think it is up to the writer to make the story come to life. Paula Quinn gave these characters lives. And for that, the book gets 4 stars from me overall. Writers have used similar plots and characterization but not every book that employed similar mechanism is a success. Laird of the Mist is one of the success stories.
I really appreciate that Paula Quinn made the heroin to overcome her prejudice sooner than later. The heroin learned soon that what she heard about the hero was falsehood and did not fight overmuch internally over it. I really do not like when romance novel writers describe the characters' internal struggle over things like family feuds, old history and blah blah blah. I mean, use it as a plot, by all means, but don't make it the main plot, please. Thankfully, Paula Quinn did not do that. She focused on the romance development and how the characters overcame the struggles (difficult but did not invest too many pages on describing them).
There are a few things that bother me:
1. At some points I did feel that the descriptions are jumping around a bit. I had to re-read some paragraphs because the story feels inconsistent. Is he standing in front of her or behind her? Did she drop the sword before or after she walked away? The book isn't very "tidy" in the sense that there are some small things hanging around. The main plot is good and works well. The details, need some work.
2. I was very surprised to read that Callum (oh sorry, the hero) has a castle and does not seem to lack funds. From the description and the story flow I was imagining an impoverished clan with little resource. But he does not seem like that at all. Not that I mind, it is just I had to correct my mental picture of Callum and his men. I imagined them to be a poor lot (monetarily) but they seem to do well enough.
3. I skipped all parts about Kate (the heroin's) evil uncle and good brother, where they are planning to rescue her, albeit for different reasons. I understand it is necessary to build the plot. But I feel that the story could have done without that particular piece of information. Thankfully, Paula did not spend too much time on this.
Overall I think it is a decent highland romance, with all the necessary elements, gripping conversations and vivid descriptions. There isn't much new, in the sense that you won't be surprised by what happens in the story. But the way the lead characters are portrayed keeps you interested. Your heart goes out to them and wants them to find the courage to come to each other with open arms. You feel for them and smile when they manage a few moments of tenderness. If you compare it to really original works, it will probably be 3.5 stars. But for a wonderful reading experience, this book gets 4 stars from me.