Devil in a Kilt – MacKenzie #1 – Sue Ellen Welfonder

I’m on a Highlander historical romance kick. I’ve been searching high and low for a good Highlander series that has at a few books already written. I found this series and looked at the reviews to see if it was worth reading and the majority of readers liked it so I downloaded the first book.

The story and plot were pretty good but I had such a hard time getting used to the authors use of expletives, not because they were harsh but because they made me laugh. I think they were supposed to be meant to show how mad or excited the characters speaking or thinking was but instead it made me think of southern belles with big yellow dresses and parasols fluttering their fans saying things like, “Land sakes!” with their exaggerated southern accents. The author used various expletives a lot and I never really got used to it. Most of them had to do with religion; probably the Catholic Church since that was the dominant religion in Scotland at the time. Here’s a list of some of them that I started writing down in the last third of the book.

Staff of Columbaf!

By the Staff of Saint Columba!

By the Rood!

By the Saints!

Christ’s Blood!

God’s Blood!

Breath of the Apostles!

Saints, Maria and Joseph!

St. Margaret!

For the love of Saint Mungo!

As you can see, they were strange sayings and I had a hard time keeping a straight face even though the situations when the expletive was used was serious. Also, calling nether parts on the man and woman a manroot and sweetmeat made me cringe.

One more thing that drove me batty was the over use of introspection and self-dialogue. Anyone who reads my reviews knows I think less is more when it comes to introspection. If the characters keep repeating their inner turmoil, excuses and misgivings, it becomes monotonous to me. What really bothers me is when there are paragraphs and paragraphs of introspection while something important is happening like a romantic moment. It ruins the moment for me because instead of a moment, it becomes fifteen minutes of non-stop garbally-goop. There was a lot of it in this book and it annoyed me.

I’ll get to the point now and stop all my garbally-goop.

Linnet MacDonnell is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter which gives her the gift of “sight”, where she has visions and is a bit psychic. She is the least beautiful of all her sisters who all have been married off by their drunken lout of a father. Now, her father is marrying her to their enemy. She listens in on a conversation between her nursemaid and her father about how she will be marrying a man is called the black stag and rumored to have killed his first wife. He only wants her for her gift of sight to tell him if the child born of his first marriage is his or his half-brother’s son and so she can warn him of any trouble coming to his clan.

Duncan MacKenzie has sworn off love after his first wife’s betrayal. She was one of the most beautiful women ever but she used her beauty for evil. She slept with his half-brother and killed both his mother and sister by poison. Before she died, she taunted him by telling him his son might not be his. He wants to know if he is the father or not so he decides to marry a woman for her gift of sight. He has heard she is not a great beauty and that is what he wants because he does not plan on bedding the lass. He wants the marriage in name only but when he sees her with her fiery red hair, he thinks he has been lied to by his kinsmen about her looks.

Linnet knows immediately that Robby is Duncan’s son upon meeting him but she decides not to tell him that she knows because she thinks Duncan should love the boy no matter who fathered him. I thought that was a bit manipulative on her part and I thought Duncan was a dick for ignoring his son. Since his wife’s death, (I think it had been two years) he put Robby on the other side of the castle and makes sure that he never sees him. The boy doesn’t even eat in the great hall with the rest of them. Before his wife told him that Robby might not be his, he spent a lot of time with him. I thought it was heartless to ignore the poor child. It wasn’t the boy’s fault that his mom was unfaithful.

Another dick move by Duncan was when he finally sleeps with Linette and right afterwards when he sees her look of adoration in her eyes, he gets scared of his own feelings so he tells her that he has no feelings for her but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy having sex together. The way he made it sound was like she was just a convenient piece of tail. It was really hurtful.

Duncan’s half-brother Kenneth wants what Duncan has. He is going around killing families on the outskirts of the MacKenzie lands trying to cause trouble. He threatened Linnet when she was outside the castle gates hunting for herbs and promised to see her again.

I like the secondary characters in the story especially the brief glimpse of some of Linnet’s brothers.

I am going to try the second book. Hopefully, I can get used to the expletives and the author will limit the use of introspection.

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4 thoughts on “Devil in a Kilt – MacKenzie #1 – Sue Ellen Welfonder

  1. Enjoyed your review. I actually love this author, and started reading her years ago, and yes her use of sayings can be quite entertaining, but I feel like in some of them its probably the way they explained certain terms. Keep reading her though, she gets better as the series progresses.


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