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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Highland Lords Series

So I'm on book 4 of 5 of the Highland Lord series by Karen Ranney. I would give the entire series itself a B...mmmm, maybe a B+.

Book 1 is called One Man's Love. It tells the story of Alec Landers, the Earl of Sherbourne (or Ian McRae on his Scottish side) and Letis McRae. Alec/Ian faces the time honored dilemma of left and right. On the right is his mother's English heritage, where he is an English Earl and a commander in the Regiment. On the left is his father and grandfather's legacy as Laird of Clan McRae and Gilmuir castle. Ian and Letis reclaim their childhood love and ultimately abandon their Scottish home for the safety of generations to come. Grade: A

Book 2 of the Highland Lord series tells the story of... Ian and Letis's oldest child, Alisdair McRae. Alisdair and his four brothers were raised in Nova Scotia, where Ian and Letis have moved Clan McRae and begun anew (and have done quite well for themselves). Alisdair is set to inherit his father's English title as Earl of Sherbourne and is on his way to England to turn down the title when a whim has him stopping along the Scottish coast to see hi ancestral home of Gilmuir. Gilmuir is in ruins and has been wrongly given to the nasty Laird Drummond by the English. Alisdair, being the rich sea tradesman that he is, offers to pay Drummond any amount to get Gilmuir back for the McRaes. Drummond agrees, but marry his beautiful daughter, Iseabal, is also part of the deal. Alisdair concedes and he and Iseabal are married immediately. Heading off for England, Alisdair plans on procuring an annulment for him an Iseabal and seeing her settled nicely somewhere very, very far away from her evil father.

Once they reach Brandidge Hall, Alisdair becomes enraptured with his step-grandmother, and strangely enough, with Iseabal herself. Putting his pride aside, Alisdair decides to embrace his future b accepting the Earlship, marrying Iseabal and going back to Gilmuir to rebuild the family ancestral estate. Everything does not come easy to this couple like love did. There is an evil man in Laird Drummond who will not rest until he has killed Alisdair McRae. In addition, Iseabal must conquer Alisdair's men and the villagers to whom her father has destroyed. A wonderful story of love, survival and lots of angst, I give When the Laird Returns an A.

Book 3 is titled The Irresistible McRae. Definitely the worst book in the series it was close to a DNF for me. However, I wanted to read the rest of the series so I did a skim and read for the second half of the book. The story of James McRae (the second oldest of the McRae brothers) and Riona McKinsey is a wonderful love story. However, the external elements of the plot fall short. Riona has recently become an heiress and is in Edinburgh to find a husband. Told that her sister is in the garden crying, Riona runs to her side only to find that she has been lured there by the very creepy Harold McDougal. After spurning his advances, Riona returns to the party with Harold trailing her and the lace on her dress ripped. Her chaperone, the up-tight Mrs. Parker, declares Riona ruined and swears she must marry the slimy Harold McDougal. Riona, her sister Maureen, Mrs. Parker and that slimeball Harold all return to Tyemorn Manner, where Rion agrees to marry nasty Harold McDougal. She agrees because her sister, Maureen, is in love with Captain Hastings, whom they are afraid will cut his ties to Maureen if Riona darkens the family with scoundrel. Yep, that's right, she is going to marry that ugly man so her sister can be happy.

Enter the dashing, rich, handsome, suave, irresistible (hence the title of the book), did I mention handsome, James McRae. James comes to Tyemorn Manor in his uncle's stead. His uncle, Fergus McRae, was once a border with Riona's family and is now back living with the love of his life, Leah. Because of their marriage, Fergus is unable to attend to Susannah's request that he come help them and sends James instead. James and Riona hit it off immediately. He thinks her impending marriage is a love match while Riona is secretly dying inside. For the next four weeks, James and Riona fall more and more in love, while her marriage to Harold-the-Greedy looms on the horizon. Needless to say, there is a lot in this book that is never said, that just aggravated the crap out of me. James and Riona come together in a not-to-believable way (Hello! Virgin, outside, people around...I just wasn't buying it) and the entire story is neatly tied together in a happily ever after ending. After reading (okay...skimming!) two hundred pages of angst and depression and wanting, I wanted a little more to my HEA. However, the love story was good and the ending was complete, I give it a C.

Now I am reading Book 4 in the series, To Love a Scottish Laird and it is sooooo good! Hamish McRae, yes, another brother, is also a ship captain. While trading with the East India Trading Company he is captured by a local tribe and tortured for a year until he escapes. Now having returned to Scotland and holed himself up in a ruined castle (apparently there are plenty to spare), Hamish has exiled himself from his family and the rest of the world. Concern for his brother prompts Brendan to bring a local healer from Inverness, Mary Gilly, to see if she can fix Hamish's lame are and perhaps his broken spirit too. So far, it is excellent!

I'm concerned about Book 5 however. It tells the story of Douglas and Jeanne. They have sex, she gets pregnant, father separates them, takes the baby, she lives in a convent, he travels the high seas angry at her desertion until the are reunited and discover that they were both lied to. The reviews on Amazon are awful and I hate stories where my h/h don't raise their own children. It really bothers me. We'll see, I might not even read it.

Ciao for now,

1 touched me

Blogger Holly pondered...

After you mentioned this author the other day I checked my TBR pile and I have the first book and a couple of others that don't belong in this series.

I'm kind of NOT digging on historicals right now, but I might give it a try later.

Good reviews, you have me interested.

1/29/2007 04:02:00 PM  

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