August 2012, European Historical Romance (1717 Scotland)
Avon, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0062122886 Part of a series
Any time a book starts off with a unique twist, it starts off with bonus points from me. At that point, it is the book’s game to lose. Unfortunately, the promising start of The Warrior Laird soon lost its shine.
Duncan MacMillan and his siblings survived the Massacre at Glencoe and Duncan became the laird of his mother’s people. When the Duke of Argyll is once again threatening his lands and his people, Duncan refuses to do anything that might bring another massacre. Unfortunately the only option open to him to prevent that outcome is to find the French gold that is rumored to be hidden in the Highlands. Off he goes on a hunt for the remaining pieces of a treasure map.
Maura Duncanson has one messed up family. Her parents are cruel and unusual. I mean that seriously. They abandoned one daughter in the hills because she was disabled. They thought she had died, but when they found out Maura had saved her, they then sent the daughter to live in isolation. They also planned on marrying Maura off to an old, disreputable geezer – partly as punishment for saving said sister, Rosie. But Maura, like Duncan, hears of the French gold and sets off to try to find it to save herself and her sister.
When Maura and Duncan meet, Maura was a pleasant surprise! Rather than team up, she steals two pieces of the map. Now, with three pieces, she thinks she is in great shape. But the survival of Duncan’s clan is on the line and he won’t take that defeat lying down. After all, should he capture her, the French gold would become irrelevant. He could get the money by simply ransoming her off. The only catch is that soon he wants her for himself instead.
To me, the relationship between Maura and Duncan was very average. This wasn’t a believable passion. To me, they were both settling for what was appropriate. Their feelings seemed forced. For a while, even after he began to feel for her, Duncan still had the intention of ransoming her off to her fiancé. At that point I lost all sympathy for the character. Yes, duty and sacrifice for your clan is honorable, but not when you are asking someone else to do the sacrificing. And for Maura, marriage to the old coot would have been sacrificing herself and her sister’s well being. That made Duncan lose any respect from me.
The story and the plot twists in this one were unique and it gave the book every advantage going in, but unfortunately, Duncan wasn’t lovable throughout for me. Once I lost respect for him, the rest of the romance seemed forced. That could have been my perception because of how I felt for Duncan, but regardless, it ruined the book for me. I was never fully pulled back into the story, and in the end, it ended up as just an average read.
-- Louise VanderVliet
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