I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Edelweiss through Tasty Book Tours, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
“A lady does no’ climb trees.”
“Ye’ve told me that three times now, lad,” Saidh responded dryly, shifting her foot up to the next branch and hauling herself upward.
“Aye, but ye’re still doing it, so I thought mayhap ye had no’ heard me,” Alpin said sharply. When she didn’t respond to that, he added, “I could climb up there to pick the apples and throw them down, ye ken.”
“Then there would be no one to catch them,” Saidh pointed out.
“I was thinking mayhap ye could stay below and catch them, as a lady should,” he said, sounding much put upon.
Saidh plucked the apple she’d been climbing to and glanced down to see where the boy was before dropping it in his direction. Once Alpin had caught it, and set it with the others they’d already gathered, she started to climb down and asked, “Just how old are ye, Alpin?”
“Nine,” he said proudly.
“Hmmm,” she muttered, easing down another branch. “Ye act ninety.”
“Laird MacDonnell says the same thing,” Alpin announced with disgust.
“Then we are in agreement,” Saidh said cheerfully, easing down another branch.
“I suspect the two o’ ye would agree on a lot o’ things,” Alpin said sounding annoyed.
“I suspect yer right,” Saidh said with a laugh and jumped to the ground. She took a moment to brush her hands together, then released her skirt from where she’d caught it up and stuck it through her belt for the climb, then beamed at the boy and said, “Is that no’ nice?”
“Nay,” Alpin assured her heavily. “I’m thinking ’tis a bad thing.”
Her eyebrows rose in surprise. “Why is that?”
“Because ye both just go about doing as ye wish with little regard fer how a laird or lady should behave,” he said firmly. “Someone needs to take the two o’ ye in hand and teach ye—What the devil are ye doing now?” he interrupted himself to ask with dismay when Saidh moved over to the apples, caught her skirt up and knelt to begin placing the apples in the bag-type affair she’d made of her skirt.
I have been anticipating this book ever since I read To Marry a Scottish Laird, and then Lynsay Sands answered my question on Goodreads Ask the Author. Saidh Buchanan has 7 brothers? Count me in! Between the characteristics she showed in the last book and the rough and tumble life she’s led, she sounded like a fun character reminiscent of Seonid from The Chase.
And now having read it, I can absolutely say I was not disappointed. Saidh embodied my recently discovered term/tag “competence porn“. And she was very like Seonid, but without the angst about herself.
What can I say about Saidh? She was always a bit of a tomboy, but when her mother dies when she is a child, sher father and her brothers raised her almost as if she was another one of the boys. She rides, she shoots, she sword fights, and she’ll brawl with her brothers. Basically, she’s nothing like other ladies and she’s happy with herself even though she suspects she’ll never get married (she’s fairly content with that too).
This particular story starts off back at the Sinclair’s celebrating the birth of Campbell and Joan’s first child. So we get a quick peak at the previous book’s hero and heroine’s continuing happily ever after, and a slight bit of sequel bait for the next book (I can’t wait to see what Sands pulls off for fainting Murina), and then we’re off to the current story. Saidh sets out to solve a mystery that she thinks her former actions to save one woman may have precipitated. As I said, she’s competent, she gets in there and gets things done, and that is highly appealing to me.
Greer, the hero of the story, is the new Laird MacDonnell. He’s a former mercenary, a truly good man, and he never expected to end up the laird of a clan. Naturally, he is instantly captivated by Saidh. All the things Saidh figured made her un-marriageable are just the things that appeal to Greer. He feels like he can be himself around her, and he accepts her. Granted, this is a bit of wish fulfillment, because it is unlikely that any man of the time period would have felt that way, but this is fiction, and it worked for me. I enjoy having main protagonists who genuinely like and appreciate each other, who respect each other, and when there are no Big Misunderstandings. That is my catnip, and Sands delivered in spades.
The book is also really humorous. Greer’s notions of honor are very strong, but his ideas of how to hold to them are kind of ridiculous. There was a very “only a man” sort of moment that had me in stitches. And this of course brought Saidh’s brother’s into play. I can absolutely picture her manhandling, and just handling them. Really, it was masterful. There’s also kind of a plot moppet in the form of a Greer’s Squire, that is a cantankerous old man trapped in a child’s body, and he provides some humorous elements as well as furthering the plot and opening Saidh’s eyes to other people’s perceptions.
In the end, I really did not catch the villain until it was laid out for me, and the red herrings were rather credible. I also believed in Saidh and Greer’s romance and their future. I look forward to the next books in this series. The Highlander Takes a Bride is sweet, satisfying, wish fulfilling catnip with a mystery plot that prevents the main characters from meandering into excessive navel gazing territory. 4 stars
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LYNSAY SANDS is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there’s occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at www.lynsaysands.net.
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