This year I made a New Year's Resolution to read a "new to me" author at least once a month. So today is the first author in my resolution series.
Mackenzie Steward and Connor MacRae
Highland Destiny (Magic of the Highlands #1)
by Laura Hunsaker
Mackenzie Stewart’s in Scotland for a much-needed vacation. During the castle tour, Mackenzie becomes completely enamored with a painting of one of the previous lairds. Two gentlemen come up behind her and, begging her pardon, they kidnap her, dragging her through time.
The men are sorcerers attempting to end a feud that has plagued their lands for years. Their patron has begun to dabble in the black arts, and between his irrational thirst for power, and his dark secret, the sorcerers are frightened. They believe Mackenzie can break the Stewart curse. They try to convince her to play along with their crazy scheme: marriage to the evil John Campbell.
Before Mackenzie can protest, her carriage is halted and the door thrown open. For a split-second she is arrested by the same beautiful piercing blue eyes that belonged in an oil painting.
Mackenzie then finds herself the victim of a second kidnapping!
Her new captor, however, does nothing but tempt her body and her temper. Believing her to in fact be the betrothed of his mortal enemy the Campbell, Connor originally sets out to capture his enemy’s betrothed. He never thought he would be so attracted to her that he’d want to keep her.
It is kind of interesting that I use the above picture of Castle Eilean Donan as the header for historical romances on all of my blog reviews (of that genre) because that is exactly the location of Highland Destiny. Castle Eilean Donan is the setting for the story. Cool!
As I had mentioned at the top of the blog post, I made a new year's resolution to read a "new to me" author at least once a month. I chose Highland Destiny for two reasons. One, hello sexy highlander! And two because I follow Laura Hunsaker on Twitter. I was drawn to her because she does not clutter up my Twitter feed with "buy my book" tweets and it was her personality on Twitter that had spoke to me. So there you go. Proof you don't have to force feed "buy my book" posts to grab the attention of readers. I purchased Highland Destiny on my own and I did not get a copy from the author.
I have to preface that I am in love with Scotland and I have read a lot about the beautiful country. I've done a lot of research as well. Highland Destiny is not a historically accurate book. So once I got my head around the fact that even though I was reading about Scotland 1792, its not factually Scotland 1792. If you are able to move past that hurdle you should be fine.
The premise of Highland Destiny was a sure winner. My interest was peaked when I read that the story was going to be about a modern day woman being whisked back in time to help save some Scottish clans from a long ago curse. I really liked how the story formed and that Mackenzie was enamored by a painting of Castle Eilean Donan's former handsome laird, Connor MacRae. I may have had a fantasy a time or two very similar as to how this story played out.
As Mackenzie is thrust back in time by two sorcerers I was a bit disappointed with lack of luster with the actual travel event. One minute she is in modern times then as she passes through a hidden tunnel she is just magically back in time.
I enjoyed the tactic in which Mackenzie and Connor meet. It was amusing that there were fireworks right away. Mackenzie quickly softened and trusted Connor enough, even after having been kidnapped twice in the same day, to comfortably fall asleep snuggled against him while riding on a horse.
I didn't like how the point of view was constantly changing back and forth. A chapter would play out with details about how Mackenzie was feeling and her reactions to situations and then after a pause-break the entire scene was retold but now from Connor's point of view. This style of writing is way up there with my least favourite way to read a book. It felt very repetitive and I honestly prefer not to know everything that the other person is thinking in that exact same situation. I'd rather have the mystery of not knowing what the other person's thoughts are.
My favourite scene is when Connor and Mackenzie return back to his castle and she is trying to change into clothes from the eighteenth century. She has no idea how stays go on or what to layer on next. I loved how Connor had to help her get into the clothes. Usually we read about highlanders taking off the ladies clothes not helping put them back on. That was fun.
I am one of these romance readers that love the heroines just as much (if not even more) than the heroes. I adore books that portray the female lead as smart and making good decisions. I groan when I read a story where the plot is furthered along and conflicts arise because of bad decisions made by the heroine. My tolerance for Mackenzie was admittedly borderline. She was brave, sweet, kind and all of that wonderful stuff that makes for great heroines but I didn't care for how she made her choices towards the villain's plot-line of the story. Mackenzie would be committed in her decision, follow through with her actions and then numerous times I'd read, "This is all my fault" or "What did I do?" I would have wanted to reach into my Kindle and throttle her if it wasn't for the blatantly obvious set up.
I don't like to share spoilers but I did really enjoy the ending. The story nicely wrapped up. It left me longing to visit Castle Eilean Donan to check behind tapestries and visit the ruins of Castle Urquhart (which were actually already in ruins by 1792).
Teasers: iPod with bagpipe music, waaaaay to early to suspect that she was pregnant, shot by arrow, magical dagger