Lord of Temptation

 
Tamed by a Highlander
by Paula Quinn
(Grand Central, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0446-55236-3
**
Sometimes historical romances get too involved in the historical and less involved in making sure the characters are worth having a story written about them. In this case, it feels like the reader really needs to care about the history of Scotland and England and the power plays for the throne at the time of King James II and William and Mary. And it doesnít help the story that the two primary characters are rather immature and have been carrying a torch for over seven years, during which time they have seen each other zero times. Yet when reunited, they hate each other and snipe at each other and yet, oh my, their very touch ignites their passions. It is a shame that the author did not give her readers more credit.

Connor Grant and Mairi MacGregor were teenage lovers. Grant was a few years older than Mairi but they had basically been a couple their entire lives. At one point Grant admits that he had loved Mairi since their first kiss at the ages of 9 and 12 respectively. But there was unrest in the world and the Catholics were fighting the Protestants for the throne. Grant decided to lend his arm and dedicate his life to saving that throne for Charles.

Mairi was ticked that he was leaving her, thus ruining her dreams of a wedding and children and a nice quiet life in the Highlands. Connor even wrote and asked her to join him multiple times. But no, Mairi wanted what she wanted and his demands be damned. So she stayed at her home of Camlochin and joined a secret police (or fighting society or something that resembled a spy ring) and fought for the right of the Catholics.

Connor meanwhile, moved his way up in the ranks of the Army to the rank of Captain. He was well-respected by first Charles and now James. He was worried about a threat to overtake the throne and was sworn to protect his King. As the story opens, everyone is at court and Mairi sees Connor for the first time in seven years. She spouts hatred and he expresses tolerance, even while lusting for her. He is amazed by her courage and spunk; she is hateful of his every act. They canít be in the same area without bickering and it only gets worse when Mairiís father leaves Mairi and her brother Colin at the palace, asking Connor to watch over her. But of course, without telling Mairi that is what he is doing.

The historical story is very convoluted with members of the court trying to overtake the throne and keeping track of who is part of which conspiracy group was difficult. Mairi suspects Connor and vice-versa, yet it seems like every time one or the other needs help, they are there. Slowly they realize they are on the same side and have to work together. Colin is involved in some of their intrigue, part of which revolves around King James eldest daughter, who is a secret from almost everyone. She is in danger and from the post script to the tale, will be featured in her own story down the road.

As for this story, I was bored and confused early on and could not quite grasp what was going on and why. Mairi was annoying at best, either trying to be brash or whining when she got caught or when Connor tried to talk some sense into her. On the other hand, Connor made the comment that Mairi was like an untamed horse and he was just the man to tame her. He lost me at that point and could not redeem himself.

Paula Quinnís writing style moves the story along and there is plenty going on, but for me, it was just too convoluted. When a reader struggles to follow the plot line and then dislikes the heroine and doesnít like the hero much better, then the tale is doomed to a less than raving review. Be so warned about Tamed by the Highlander.

--Shirley Lyons


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