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Highland Bride (The Murrays) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2011
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About the Author
Hannah Howell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of acclaimed historical romances. Howell, twice awarded the Golden Leaf Award, has been a Romance Writers of America RITA Award Finalist, received RT Book Reviews' Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year, and has had her books on Amazon's Top 10 Romances of the Year list. She lives in West Newbury, Massachusetts with her family. Visit her website at hannahhowell.com.
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After only one night at her new home three neighboring lairds show up demanding she marry one of them. She is able to repel each mans attack while not spilling a drop of blood in an effort to buy some time waiting for her father. Whom she knows will be able to help her fix this dilemma.
Dad didn't come in time and she ends up choosing Connor. A closed up and hard man. One pushed to be after all the adults are killed off in a feud and as a teen lad has the sole responsibility of leading the widows and orphans through surviving.
Gillyanne grows to deeply love Connor and the passion is amazing. But if Connor can't open up at least a little bit Gilly has a out. Will she take it? Will Connor give her the three little words she needs? Find out.
I was really looking forward to reading Connor and Gilly's story, having been introduced to them in one of the other stories (Fiona's, I think). And, based on that introduction, I thought Connor would be an intelligent, mature laird. It was so disappointing to learn that wasn't the case. The story begins as Gilly is being forced to wed one of three lairds who are vying for her hand. While Connor starts out having some wisdom in dealing with the other two lairds, he then becomes an inconsiderate, insensitive and inarticulate oaf for most of the book (an inconsistency I didn't enjoy). His conversion to a sensitive, loving husband at the end of the story seemed abrupt to me. I get the whole strong-man-protecting-the-clan thing, but still... While Gilly (who, except for being flat chested with brownish red hair and green/blue eyes, is never described as pretty or plain so you are left wondering), started out as a strong, intelligent, fiercely independent woman, she then allows herself to be ordered about and dragged (literally) off to a priest for a quickie wedding. Then she endures (without complaint) a consummation of the marriage that was quick and cold and, frankly, was just shy of rape. She says little to Connor about the whole episode except to note later he "wasn't very good." I would have thought that given her character and temperament, she'd be screaming and resisting such an assault, a marriage ceremony notwithstanding. But no. The whole quickie wedding seemed contrived to me. She could have negotiated a courtship period or at least some conditions before having to choose one of the three lairds, and her terms could have included a decent wedding. That would have been more consistent with her character as Howell portrays her. I don't like it when the characters behave inconsistently. And there were other things that weren't believable. Why, for example, did it take her father two weeks to reach her when he immediately left to do so? That is not explained and made no sense even given travel in those days.
So, in summary, the inconsistencies in the characters and unanswered questions bothered me. Last but not least, as noted by other reviewers, the whole "wee lass" and "wee wife" description of Gilly on every page became nauseating. It made her sound like a child. How could she be so "wee" as compared to Connor's huge size and great height when (on page 309) while they are standing facing each other, she is able to kiss "the hollow at the base of his throat"? Assuming he is over 6 feet (which the descriptions suggest), was she standing on a chair not mentioned? Ick...I hate those kind of slips. After all the books Howell has written, you'd think she could do better with those kind of details. And give up the "wee lass" stuff--we're not all short!!
For a list of truly great Scottish historical/Highlander romances, see my list. I include only those I rank 4 and 5 stars (mostly 5 stars).
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