My rating: 4.5 of 5 flames
Once again, Monica McCarty blends a vivid world rich in history with a lovely romance.
Helen and Magnus were sweet on each other for years during their teens. I thought the flashbacks were wonderful-I love the childhood sweethearts story. But when your clans hate each other with a passion, what are two young lovers to do? For magnus, it’s simple-run away together. He’s pretty sure his family will be supportive, even though Helen’s family is the enemy.
But Helen, once put on the spot by her family (who’s telling her that she’s young and silly) and Magnus (who has just asked her to marry him), decides to stay with her family. Magnus is beyond hurt. His pride has taken a blow, and his heart is broken. Helen’s family betroths her to someone they deem acceptable as soon as they possibly can, and unfortunately for Magnus, that man is his best friend Gordon.
The first time Magnus and Helen set eyes on each other after that awful encounter where she chose her family over her love, just happens to be at her wedding to Gordon. Magnus doesn’t want to ruin the day, and he thinks he’ll be able to handle seeing her; after all, it’s been several years. Seeing Helen is a like a blow to the stomach, but he remains steadfast that Gordon will never know how much he loves Helen. Helen, for her part, never realized how badly she hurt Magnus and expected him to come for her years ago. She can’t let go of her feelings, so right before she walks down the aisle, she finds Magnus and tries to get him to admit his feelings. But he tells that he absolutely doesn’t want her and to go marry Gordon.
So she does. She actually married Gordon. I won’t spoil anything, but Magnus and Helen’s road to love is not easy and it’s going to take a lot for Magnus to admit his feelings for his friend’s wife.
There is a lot of history woven throughout the plot, and I really think that it enriches the imagery and the intensity of the story. However, that being said, the book has a few slow parts. I felt at times that the book dragged in places. But the reader is rewarded when the action scenes come. Ms. McCarty has a talent for detail and for amping up the pace once fighting breaks out.
I can’t tell you how much I loved the ending. I also think that it’s testament to Ms. McCarty’s writing skill that she made me care for a character who I wasn’t sure I liked. I loved the side romance between Will and Muriel, I absolutely loved it. I think Helen grew into an amazing heroine, especially considering I wasn’t sure she’d grow up. This was a wonderful addition to the Highland Guard series and while there were some major shocks and upsets within the Guard, I can’t wait for the next book!