Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Claimed by the Highlander

Claimed by the Highlander by Julianne MacLean  505

Angus MacDonald is determined to reclaim Kinloch castle after it was stolen from him by the MacEwan's because of his father's support of the Jacobites. He storms the castle and quickly overcomes all resistance, except for the late Lord's daughter, Gwendolyn, who is acting as ruler of the castle until her brother can be located and comes to take over. Seeing that she could pose a problem, Angus wastes no time in declaring that he and Gwen will marry and that their son will one day rule over Kinloch. Gwendolyn is furious and has no intention of marrying Angus, but can only smile and agree with him while secretly hoping that her brother or the English army shows up and throws Angus out. She writes to the English to ask for help and while she waits she strikes up a bargain with Angus; she will marry him and be loyal and dutiful, and in exchange he agrees to put off the consummation until their wedding night. When the English arrive she realizes she has made a dreadful mistake as she has destroyed Angus's trust and earned his anger.

Angus is furious that she has betrayed him, but takes her second vow of loyalty at face value and agrees to continue with his side of the agreement. Both of them are immensely attracted to the other so the wedding can't come soon enough for them to get their hands on the other. Angus had betrayed a friend to English, was thrown out of his father's house, and spent a year living with an oracle. He believes he has no heart so when he starts to feel deeper emotions for Gwen he is scared that he is becoming weak and that he will be dependent on someone else. Gwen is coming to care for her husband because there were so many times when he could have been cruel, but instead has shown himself to be caring and kind. But when his old lover comes back and claims that she had a vision where Gwen betrayed him, Angus can't help but believe that his love has been misplaced. Gwen is horrified that her husband can so easily disregard her word and has no trust for her and it will take a lot of hard work and trust for both of them to admit their love for each other.

Gwen was a feisty heroine who wanted to stand up and fight for her family's keep, which I admired, but what I admired most was her levelheadedness and her ability to recognize when it was better for her to "submit" to her fate and accept what had happened to her. She did what she could to save herself and her family's legacy but when she realized that this would not be possible she made the best of the card's she was dealt and fell in love with them in the end. I liked that when she did fall in love with Angus she fought for him and put herself on the line for him several times. Angus was very hard and slow to warm to everything and I had difficulty seeing why Gwen fell in love with him. At first I was impressed with his ability to forgive her for her initial betrayal and his sympathy towards women when it came to sexual experiences was also interesting. However when his fear that Gwen would betray him took over him I quickly lost patience and was disgusted by some of the things he did to her. He turned what should have been a happy moment between them and made it horrible and I don't see how it was forgivable.

There was a lot of sex in this book and it was quickly apparent that these two found it absolutely impossible to keep their hands off of each other. Despite the vast amounts of sex it was not really exciting or hot; it was quick and almost entirely lacking in emotions really and did nothing for me. This book also fell into a trap that I really can't stand in romances by having real arguments or discussion or problems suddenly end in them having sex. There were several instances where she was upset with him, and had a real genuine reason to want to talk to him and get him to apologize, but instead it ended with him sexing her up and the problem magically went away. Also- I had a problem with him referring to her "pastry" even if it was kind of a joke in the book, and with her saying twice (!!) that there was no need for foreplay because she was so turned on. In the end I don't really see how these two were able to make it work after everything that had happened and all the trusts that were betrayed. I did enjoy the side plots involving the uprisings (multiple!) and her family.

Rating: There was too much between Angus and Gwen that made me unhappy, and while the book was a fast read, I just could not root for Angus even while I loved Gwen for the most part.

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