This book is a true case of this book didn’t work for me, but it may work for you.
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. I found the writing to be repetitive and frustrating. It wasn’t easy to jump into this story and there were a lot of extra side plots that absolutely didn’t need to be there.
There’s a ghost sub-plot. It is woven in pretty well, but I hated the ghost Drangar, so it kind of ruined it for me. He is an ancestor of the hero Alasdair, and he is a big fat jerk. He cheated on his wife, and she went to commit suicide for attention, but he is too late. Her skirts get tangled in the water and she drowns. The two of them spend several centuries lamenting their mistakes. At one point, though, Drangar is bemoaning his afterlife, and he says something like, “Oh but if she only had loved me enough to suffer instead of killing herself.” Wait, hold up. She should have loved you enough to suffer your cheating?! That’s a little victim-blaming right there. Ugh.
There’s a Viking sub-plot. This could have been super cool. Like amazing knock your socks off cool. Instead in fizzled out at the end leaving me holding my Nook and scratching my head thinking, “That’s it? All the build-up and that’s it?” Quick recap: The heroine has a foretelling dream of her death at a Norse lord. Said Norse lord is in talks with her brother Kendrew for Marjory’s hand in marriage. At the end, there is the makings of an epic battle. And then the Vikings turn away. That’s it. Done. No kidnapping, no fiery funeral pyre, no battle. Nothing.
Now the romance itself was sweet. I wish more time had been spent on it. Marjory has wanted Alasdair for a year or so now, and thought the feeling was mutual. He comes back from being gone for a while, but he’s a changed man—he’s harder. Not to mention her brother Kendrew and the man she loves hate each other. This was going well at first, but after a while, I felt Alasdair was just being petty and childish. He didn’t work as a responsible clan chief. He read like a petulant child whose pride had been hurt.
Kendrew then has a super abrupt about-face and lets Marjory and Alasdair marry and sends the Vikings on their way. It was so quick and so out of character that I didn’t buy it. If at one point Marjory and Kendrew had spoken and she’d said “Oh but I love him. Let me marry him.” He could be the doting big brother, and say yes, then it would have worked for me. But it was so random and out of the blue.
That being said, many of her fans will love it. Some of these things won’t bug you at all. But for me it just didn’t work.
Ending on a positive, I will say that fans of Sue-Ellen Welfonder won’t want to miss her latest in the Highland Warriors series. With everything from Highlanders to Vikings, ghosts to curses, there’s something for everyone. You won’t want to miss this third installment in a series full of adventure and romance.
***ARC courtesy of Forever Romance and netgalley