Sunday, April 7, 2013

Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: March 29, 2013

Who can you trust? Betrayed by his brother and his childhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start. So he welcomes the opportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the family estate. But there's trouble afoot at Rosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate's in ruin and money is disappearing. He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, the beautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her? Marsaili is determined to build a good life. She works hard at being housekeeper and harder still at avoiding men who want to take advantage of her. But she's irresistibly drawn to the new clan chief, even though he's made it plain he doesn't want to be shackled to anyone. And the young laird has more than romance on his mind. His investigations are stirring up an enemy. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants including Marsaili even if that means destroying Brice's life forever...

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Image by Carol Walker (CC-BY-SA-2.0),
via Wikimedia Commons
Okay, before I get into my review of Christina Courtenay's Highland Storms, I want to give a shout out to the unnamed cover artist of this piece. I think this cover and that of Trade Winds are beautiful, but I absolutely love the fact that Eilean Donan, the castle that appears here, like the family seat at Rosyth in the book, has a secret passage. Coincidence? Possibly, but it makes for a fun fact just the same.

Coming straight off of its predecessor, I was eager to see where Courtenay would take the Kinross family  in Highland Storms and I was anything but disappointed. 

Again we have a wonderful romance, but also two very real protagonists. Being born to privilege Brice is struggling to understand he can't always have what he wants while Marsali, born without, fights for every inch. Their story is as much about maturity and trust as it is the love between them. 

While not as exotic as Trade Winds, the storytelling is much tighter. No loose ends or superfluous information though I would have liked a little time Killian and Jessanijn. Just a scene or two to get a better picture of their happily ever after might have rounded off their story nicely. 

By virtue of its local in the misty mountains of Scotland, Highland Storms runs the risk of being lumped in with an untold number of bodice rippers, but don't be fooled. Courtenay is at her best balancing romance with adventure, intrigue and history, offering readers the perfect combination of each in one unputdownable volume.  

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A man like Brice Kinross would never be interested in marrying a servant, even a high ranking one... The most he'd want from Marsaili would be a tumble in the hay. And tempting as that might seem when she glanced at his gilded chest yet again, it wasn't worth the consequences.
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