by Amanda Forester
Source: won from Anna's Book Blog, sent to me by Sourcebooks
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Athena Smith, the costume curator for a Chicago museum, is elated to finally see the legendary vintage gowns worn by a city icon, Bertha Palmer. But the gowns are owned by the Clayworth family, who are not on good terms with Athena's family. The Clayworths just fired Athena's father from their company for unknown, but scandalous, reasons. So Athena has little hope of gaining the gowns for an exhibition at the museum. While looking at the gowns, she inhales a toxin which acts as a truth serum. Wh...more Lady Aila Graham is shocked when her father arranges for her to marry a stranger, Padyn MacLaren. Aila had been trained her whole life to become a nun, so she's unprepared to be any one's wife. Padyn and Aila's sudden marriage is only the first in a string of fast-paced adventures they have together, including kidnapping, a besieged castle, a secret passageway, and many high speed chases on horseback. Among their many adventures, the two find themselves falling in love.
I really enjoyed this highland story, the action was non-stop! I'm surprised by how much I liked the book because the romance really wasn't the strongest part of the story.
I loved the character Chaumont, the French knight who was Padyn's sidekick. He really made the book entertaining for me, he stole the show! I liked Chaumont a lot better than Padyn, and I was hoping he would get his book, but that seems unlikely. Chaumont was always quick to make light of the situation, but later, we find out why he acts this way. A few times, I thought Chaumont acted more admirably than Padyn, even towards Aila.
I loved Aila's character too. She was a strong, intelligent woman who could take care of herself-especially on horseback! She was independent and took risks often. However, she admitted her mistakes also.
Unfortunately, the romance was a little lacking and seemed awkward at times. The love scenes, especially, were uncomfortable, and somewhat immature. There were long periods of time when the couple were separated and even towards the end, Aila had to ask others what her husband was like because she didn't know him well enough. The romantic gestures between the two of them didn't really flow and felt uncomfortable.
There was a Christian theme in the book which was unusual for this type of romance, but I think it fit well, especially since Aila studied to be a nun. In no way is the religious theme overbearing.
Main Characters: 4/5 (Aila more so than Padyn)
Supporting Characters: 5/5 (Chaumont, enough said!!)
Cover: 4/5 (gotta love it!)
Bottom Line: I recommend this book to fans of highland romance because it's a lot of fun and action packed. Too bad Chaumont isn't the star of the story though, and he's relegated to second banana. Chaumont alone is worth picking up this book!