I am torn about this book, why? Well Margaret Mallory ends her fantastic The Return of the Highlander Series with a spectacular story. Each page fulfills the promise she has made with her previous books. The story is full of tension, both in battle and in the bedroom. Passions ignite, promises are made, lost, forgotten and reforged.. and yet.. Margaret Mallory ENDS this series. See my dilemma? When you fall in love, passionately and irrevocably in love, you never want to let go and with this book we have to let go of these four dynamic men.. say goodbye.. *sigh*
***Warning while the review might not share enough this book could contribute PAGES to the swoon room!***
Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat knows his place and his duty. As chieftain of a clan decimated by the previous generations, he knows he must marry well. He has married his closest advisers and friends strategically (and as luck would have it for love). He knows he will not be allowed the luxury of falling in love. He must marry to secure his clans place. To secure their land and their peace. He has no room for love so he isn't even bothering to look. *rolls eyes* He is such a man.. Stumbling into almost relationships, doubting his instincts for the good of the clan. Even refusing to listen to the one person who truly has his back.
Ilyssa, seer in training, sister to Connor's dearest friend Duncan.. married at her mother's request and widowed early has loved Connor for what seems like a lifetime. She knows, there is no permanent place for her. She knows he must marry for the sake of the clan and she knows that no one will ever love him like she does. She sacrifices much to leave her home and stand beside him as his chatelaine and healer. Making sure his castle runs smoothly while he seeks his bride.. Standing between him and a bitter people who have felt abandoned by the clan MacDonald. She has spent a lifetime hiding who she is behind poorly fit clothes and even worse hairstyles and yet slowly in her desire to see Connor safe.. she emerges into the woman she was supposed to be.
Ilyssa is a secret delight.. she is the definition of ruling with a velvet glove.. no one (but Connor) can doubt that she is the reason his foray into this new domain is successful. Her insights into the character of those around him show him time and time again that she believes in him and will sacrifice all for him and yet when the time comes for him to believe in her... yeah..
Together these two walk a path not for the weak of spirit.. as they fell in love I couldn't help weep for them. They struggled, they gambled and at times it seemed like the won and others they lost. Ms Mallory kept us on our toes until the very end. Sure I "knew" there would be a HEA but still I doubted. I was sure that somehow they would resolve their issues but I must admit I enjoyed how it all played out.
Of course this book could be read as a stand alone but why would anyone ever want to do that.. read the rest of the series.. you can find my reviews on The Sinner book two and The Warrior book three if you click on the title. I hope you delve into this series because it is one of the best Highlander Series out there.. I know that is saying something but Ms Mallory offers us a total and complete delight.
This review is based on the ARC of The Chieftain provided by netgalley and is scheduled to be released February 26, 2013