Ian MacDonald and Sileas' book
The Guardian (Return of the Highlanders book 1)
By Margaret Mallory
Book Blurb:After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past...and claim the bride he's long resisted.
As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas—and he won't take no for an answer.
I'm always ready to fall in love with a new and exciting highlander romance book and unfortunately The Guardian wasn't it. I like my heroes to have intelligence mixed in with their alpha personalities and Ian MacDonald was missing the smart gene.
The author does a great job in the prologue setting up the Return of the Highlanders series. The chapter provides a solid background and perfect insight into what each of the young boys' future stories will be. Ian's future is predicted by the seer of the clan and it is foretold that he will marry twice; once in anger and once for love. When the first chapter begins, time jumps forward a few years and Ian is forced to marry a very young thirteen year old Sileas. I don't blame him for being angry about that situation. In fact I felt mortified for the teen who is barely a man. That marriage was never consummated and Ian leaves the clan with a group of his young friends for five long years.
Our poor female protagonist, Sileas has had to endure a lot of hardship in her young life. She has been in love with Ian since she was a small child, forced to marry him and then live in shame that her husband abandoned her right after they exchanged vows. For five years Sileas has lived with Ian's family while he was away from the continent.
Ian finally comes back to his family and it really struck a nerve with me that upon his return he should have been deemed the almighty prodigal son. Not to mention that the entire way home he was grumbling and complaining about seeing his wife and he couldn't wait to ditch her. Honestly I wasn't sure if I was more annoyed that Sileas continued to pine away for Ian after all these years or that Ian, after only looking at her and not saying two words to her for an entire night, all of a sudden wanted to bed her.
I understand that she grew up from the gangling thirteen year old but was Ian so shallow that he could only see her beauty upon his return? I liked that Sileas finally came to her senses and put him off and finally got angry at the desertion but Ian's efforts to bed her made me loose respect for him. Ian didn't come across as a romantic and he acted more like a dumb-witted male. The age old formula of a woman ignoring a man, makes him just want her more was all the plot here.
The first half of the book almost made me put it down and forget about it. I couldn't tolerate Ian's stupidity. I persevered and thankfully I did because slowly The Guardian did redeem itself with a great story. It just took a bit to get there.
Teasers: fake fishing trip with a friend, childhood memories, deception, castle take-over