“... I firmly believe that a woman can be whatever she wants to be if she sets her mind to it.”
If only this was an idea explored in the rest of the book. Where to begin ...
I am a fan of a historical romance and am perfectly capable of accepting some seriously sappy scenes and implausible plot points but this book stretched even my limits. The first and in my eyes most major problem is the female lead Mairin, putting it bluntly she is a complete and utter idiot. It's a shame as she started out very likeable, a bit feisty and gave off the impression that she could take care of herself. We meet her during her abduction from a nunnery where she bravely sacrifices herself to save the nuns and then a few more pages in she puts her safety before that of a young child who is also captured, so far so good. Where it all goes horribly wrong is after she is rescued and meets Ewan McCabe, she just becomes a simpering, blubbering wreck. One minute she is crying her eyes out because he's shouted at her and the next she is so unbelievably in love with him. She looses all of her character and just becomes this female object with the most insane mood swings. Don't even get me started on how she tries to "help" her new husband by resolving a dispute over a horse, quite honestly I would have shouted at her too! She decides that neither man deserves the horse so takes/steals it for herself and then sacks the stable master, because of course that is the best way to solve a problem! By far her most annoying trait is her constant blurting out of whatever outraged thought has just crossed her mind, I think this is supposed to make her look cute, it didn't, it annoyed the hell out of me.
So the female lead is a dud what about the male lead Ewan? The word possessive does not do this man justice, he insists on his wife being followed by his men at all times for "protection", and I'm not just talking following at a discreet distance and stepping in if there is danger, no these bodyguards are forever looming over her and catching her whenever she trips over (which she does, frequently). Whenever Mairin takes it in to her head to escape her overly zealous bodyguards he gets angry and starts yelling at her about obeying him at all times, I am your Lord and Master blah blah blah ... honestly this is not attractive at all, I get that an alpha male is sexy but this is just emotional abuse.
Next problem, the love scenes (or loving as they call it in this book, I NEVER want to read that word used in this context again). I have read some seriously graphic sex scenes in my time in some seriously questionable books but at least the characters in them liked each other and didn't call each other "sweeting" all the time (it makes me feel sick just thinking about that word). These two are the mismatched couple from hell and the sex was seriously uncomfortable to read. The first time it is just rape so why she goes back for more I will never know. Bearing in mind she has lived her whole life in a nunnery and her birds and the bees talk came from a nun she seems to think she knows better than him what should be happening and keeps telling him he is doing it wrong! She then of course has the necessary fifteen orgasms in one go (give that cliche box a big tick) and decides he is very good at "loving" (shudder) after all.
Final problem, the plain stupidity of some of the plot points. She escapes from Cameron twice without any effort on her part (this man has some serious security issues), for some reason she is not allowed to speak at the trial (she was in the room she just didn't shout over everyone), if she's a princess how is she this naive and of course the characters in this book go hunting in the evening ... in Scotland ... in autumn, safety first and all that. I could go on but it would be cruel to further inflict this stupidity upon you.
So why did I give this 2 stars and not just 1? Well I got to the end of it (trust me a couple of times I nearly hurled it across the room, the only thing that saved it was the love I have for my kindle). Despite my ranting I did want to know how it ended (predictably) and I am going to read the rest of the series in the hope of some improvement but I wouldn't recommend this unless you are a die hard historical romance fan in search of pure escapism.