The Chieftain – Return of the Highlanders – Margaret Mallory

This is the final book of the short series.

Connor became chief of the MacDonalds of Sleat when he came home after fighting in France for five years to find that his father and older brother had been killed in the Battle of Flodden and his evil uncle was running the clan into the ground by only looking out for himself. The clan voted in Connor as chieftain and ousted his uncle.

His uncle is now gathering large numbers of pirates and terrorizing the Isle of Sky and all the surrounding Isles. Not only is he at war with his uncle but a rival clan is threatening to take his land. Connor must find a strong clan to marry into so he can get help defending his lands.

Ilysa is a healer and a seer. Connor has always trusted her to take care of the castle and take on the duties that his future wife will take over once he is married. Nobody ever gives Ilysa a second glance because she dresses in frumpy clothing that are shapeless and drab. She covers her hair like a nun and keeps herself in the background. She is in love with Connor because she is too lowborn to marry him. Although her mother was a noblewoman, her father is unknown.

I absolutely adored Ilysa. I laughed a lot at her tactics. I really wanted her to somehow be some powerful chieftain’s daughter and I somehow guessed who her father really was. That was probably a bit of a spoiler but I think anyone could put two and two together.

I am sad that this is the end of this series but it really had nowhere else to go. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes Highlander romances.

 

The Warrior – Return of the Highlanders #3 – Margaret Mallory

Duncan MacDonald has been in the previous two books and we know he was in love before and he never really got over it. In this book, we learn that Duncan was in love with his best friend’s sister. Years ago, before his best friend was the chief and before they had gone off to France to fight, he and Moira had a secret love affair but Duncan always knew it couldn’t last because he was born a bastard with an unknown father and Moira was a chieftain’s daughter.

Both of them thinks the other one abandoned them. Moira had unrealistic expectations and believed that her father would allow her to marry Duncan but when her father found out, he told Duncan to go to France with the others and leave his daughter alone or die. Her father let Moira think he ran off to France without saying goodbye. Duncan believes that Moira got married to the first person she met and forgot about him because her father forced her to marry, not only for alliances but because he knew Moira was pregnant.

Now, Duncan has to rescue Moira from an abusive and dangerous marriage in Ireland. He has no clue that her son is his child. They have to overcome the hurt and betrayal they feel for each other.

I think this was the best book so far of the series. There is still the threat of the chief’s uncle who is now a pirate and causing trouble all over the place and trouble with other clans. There was emotional turmoil and danger all through the book. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next book in the series which I believe is the final book.

 

The Sinner – Return of the Highlanders #2 – Margaret Mallory

Arranged marriages for political gain or clan alliances is a recurring theme in Highlander novels. I don’t think that the authors lack imagination, it is just that it was a fact of life way back in history and most all the characters or at least one of the characters in these books are usually highborn…because two peasants marrying would not make for a challenging read. In this book, the chief has asked his friend to marry someone which is a lot like an arranged marriage because if your chief asks something of you, you do it.

Alex MacDonald is somewhat of a playboy. He likes the lasses but he doesn’t want to get tied down to one. When his chief asks him to marry the daughter of a neighboring clan, he reluctantly agrees but he doesn’t count on Glynis being as reluctant as he is. It could be a challenge to get her to marry him.

Glynis has already been married once to a misogynistic womanizer who couldn’t keep true to the marriage bed so she stabbed him in the thigh. She missed her original target. Somehow she was able to annul the marriage. Now, her father wants to marry her off to another playboy and she wants nothing to do with it.

This book was entertaining. There were serious parts but for the most part it was a light read. I think anyone who likes Highlander novels would like this series.

 

The Guardian – Return of the Highlanders #1 – Margaret Mallory

Here is an author who can toy with the emotions of her readers which is a very good thing in my opinion. I felt so bad for the heroine in this story because the hero was such a jerk to her for so long.

Sileas escapes her house at age 13 after her horrible step-father tries to marry her off to his son from another marriage just to gain control of her castle and lands because she is the rightful heir. She runs into her friend, Ian MacDonald who she has adored since she was a wee lass. He allows her to travel with him towards his home and even shares his plaid with her to keep warm when they camp but in the morning, his uncle rides into camp and thinks Ian has defiled Sileas and forces them to marry.

Ian is livid and despite knowing Sileas was in a bad situation and a good kid, believes she has trapped him into marriage. He thinks Sileas is too homely and skinny with wild red hair so he will never be attracted to her. He does not consummate the marriage and runs off with his friends to France to fight. He is gone for five years and never writes or asks about how Sileas is doing.

Five years later, he and his friends are back from France to discover their clan is in trouble. Their chief is dead, killed at the Battle of Flodden, and his brother has taken over but does not care for the welfare of the clan. He only cares about power and his own comfort. Ian’s father lost a leg at Flodden and has taken to his bed, depressed so now Ian has to become the man of the house and figure out a way to help the clan.

Sileas has lived with Ian’s family, working her finger to the bone, trying to help them out and she has grown into a beautiful woman. Ian notices right away and all of the sudden is interested in her which irked the heck out of me. What a tool!

I can tell this is going to be a great series. The other characters are interesting and the ongoing struggle of the corrupt chieftain will definitely be intriguing.