*This is just my opinion, my personal take on any given book, use as a reference. I will not be overly gushing. I will also endeavor not to give too much of the plot away.
I will not hand out 4 star ratings for every book, or try not to.*
HIGHLAND WEDDING by Hannah Howell
Zebra Historical (originally published 1988 as Promised Passion, this re-issue 2007) 384 pages.
Ok, I will admit a weakness for Highlanders here and now. Medieval itself does not thrill me much as a romance setting, but stuff a hero in a Celtic or Scottish kilt and I am there. Vikings are also moving up my list.
I liked this story right off, Sir Iain MacLagen is a Scottish Lord hero in spades, complete with the jagged scar down the side of his handsome face. A daily reminder of the wife he lost and the enemy that still stalks him. His heart, of course, is guarded, he refuses to have anything to do with women again.
Of course, he is commanded by the king to marry for the sake of peace near the borders, (I know, how often is THAT chestnut trotted out in Medieval themed stories?)
Enter tiny, girl-like Iselaen, a free spoken heroine who is immediately smitten with the tall, brooding Lord. He is a lot to take on, haunted by his past, and seemingly, a line of enemies bent on killing him.
The night before the wedding, Iselaen feels Iain should be told her horrible secret. I found this scene funny, sexy and charming. Unlike some reviews, I won't give it away.
The newlyweds are soon swept up into intrigues at court, misunderstandings and danger.
The heroine is devotedly patient with our brooding, tortured Lord and they go through a lot to get to their HEA, but while it is violent at times, (which doesn't bother me personally) it is a fast paced adventure as well as a touching romance.
The characters are appealing, especially Iain. While he does not give his love to her right away, whoa, he is passionate laddie. *sizzle* Watching Iselaen patiently break down his defenses makes for a satisfying read.
3 and 1/2 stars out of four
KOVER KUDOS: Nathan Alert!! And Och! If you look close, there is a dusting of chest hair!! That got me excited, wish I could see it more on male models. Lovely cover. No scar, we will assume it is on the side of the face that is hidden. Nathan Kamp in a kilt, I could not ask for a better cover.
3 and 1/2 stars
IF HE'S SINFUL by Hannah Howell Dec 2009\Zebra Historical 352 pages.
This book, threw me. Guess what? It really is a Historical/Paranormal! That I did not expect. Even though I read the back cover and it spoke of the heroine's 'gift', it did not really click in.
The hero is Lord Ashton Radmoor, another of those aloof, Greek-God types, however, this one loves his family so dearly, he is willing to sell himself to a rich society climber to obtain her generous dowry to pay off his family's debts. Honorable and handsome, I like him already.
But it wasn't just Ash I was taken with, the heroine and her quirky family, made up of an assortment of by-blows of her various male relatives were engaging and ultimately touching. Penelope Wherlocke first meets our hero when she is kidnapped and brought to a brothel by her evil step-family, he believes the wanton tied to the bed is a bachelor party gift from his friends. Fantastic introduction to the two characters.
Rescued by her slightly younger half-brothers, Ash soon suspects Penelope's family is behind this, and is shocked to discover his betrothed is Penelope's step sister!
The story moves at a fast clip, lots of adventure, and we find out, Penelope is not the only Wherlocke relative with a 'gift'. The children are all endearing, and I for one would love to see more on her brothers, and even Ash's close friends were wonderful secondary characters, his friend Brant's subplot was heartbreaking. Again, this character could have his own story, easily. There were so many characters, you had to pay close attention, but it added to the story's appeal. The villains are truly hateful, and yes, there are more than one!
Satisfying ending, and enjoyable read.
3 and 3/4 stars out of four.
KOVER KUDOS: Ok, My next fav cover model is Paul Marron, and here he is with the classic 'open shirt, pushed down the shoulders' look. Ashton in the book is described as having long blond hair, so kudos for slapping a wig on Paul even if it looks mangy. Paul has a glorious profile and chest, I must say. *drool*
Cover gets 3 out of 4 stars