I’m on a Monica McCarty marathon. I’ve finished her Highland Guard Series and am impatiently waiting for the next in the series and then because I just couldn’t get enough, I read her Campbell Trilogy. I was going to read a book in a series that was just released from another author that I’ve been waiting for and actually started it but I set it aside because I couldn’t switch modes for some reason so I downloaded the MacLeod of Skye Trilogy. I bought the bundled set because it was less expensive than buying each individual book
The MacLeods of Skye and the MacDonalds have been feuding for years, ever since the MacDonald of Sleat cruelly repudiated his handfested bride, Margaret MacLeod, after an accident blinded her in one eye. He paraded her through the village on a one-eyed horse led by a one-eyed man and followed by a one-eyed dog. Handfesting was a trial marriage of sorts where a couple agrees to be together for one year and a day before deciding to marry or not, usually done for alliances between families. Sleat put Margaret MacLeod aside not only for her injury but to marry a MacKenzie for an alliance with the MacKenzie clan.
King James is tired of the constant feuding between clans so when the MacDonald of Sleat goes to him under the ruse of wanting peace, offering his beautiful niece, Isabel’s hand in marriage to the Chief of the MacLeods, King James agrees. Rory MacLeod the Chief of the MacLeods of Skye refuses to marry her but is forced by the King into a handfesting to Isabel MacDonald.
Eager to please her family who have basically ignored her throughout her whole life, Isabel agrees to be their Trojan horse and handfest to Rory MacLeod. Her uncle has told her father and brothers that he will only support her family against the impeding battle against the MacKenzies over their land if Isabel accomplishes her goal of seducing Rory MacLeod to get the location of any secret entry to his castle and she has to steal the MacLeod’s Fairy Flag (legend says the flag is what gives the MacLeods their power and if it falls out of the hands of the MacLeods, they will be powerless to hold their castle and lands against their enemies) which is hidden somewhere in the castle. If her uncle does not help her father against the MacKenzies, they will certainly lose their home and lands.
Rory MacLeod is the chief of his clan. He has only agreed to marry or rather handfest to Isabel MacDonald because the King demanded it. He fully intends to give Isabel back to the MacDonalds at the end of the year. He plans to be polite and treat her with respect but she will be leaving as a maid just as she arrived. He has a prior alliance with the Campbells and plans to wed the cousin of the Earl of Argyll, said to be almost as powerful as the king. Rory hates the MacDonald of Sleat for what he did to his sister, Margaret, and wants revenge on him.
Before the end of the year, both Rory and Isabel are falling for each other but each has their duty to their clans. Unless they can find a way to get strong alliances to help their clans, they will both be heartbroken at the end of the handfesting.
I enjoyed this book but at times I found it dragging. I skipped paragraphs and paragraphs of romantic garbley gook where the characters would over think things or where an almost kiss became so drawn out that I would lose interest in it. I think over describing things is monotonous and annoying and it seemed to repeat itself a lot throughout the book. I also have a hard time believing men lose control of their manly parts just by merely being near a woman or brushing up against their arm or leg. I would like to give men a lot more credit than that. But that is the only criticism I have of this book and it’s the first time I have ever criticized anything about a Monica McCarty book.
I adored Isabel and thought Rory was h-h-hot. Rory’s brother, Alex, was also drool worthy but for some reason I found myself drawn to their guardsman, Colin. I have a weak spot for quiet, broody men and the fact that he looked like a blond Viking just was icing on the cake.
The next book is about Alex…I peaked. Actually, I started reading the first page and forced myself to stop in order to write this review. Now that I’ve finished, I’m going straight to reading it.