Review: The Highlander's Prize by Mary Wine

Tuesday, April 3

Title: The Highlander's Prize*
Author: Mary Wine
Series: Highlander Trilogy #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: Paperback & E-book
Date/Year:  April 3, 2012
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

IN A DEADLY GAME

Sent to Scotland to be the king's mistress and produce an heir, Clarrisa of York has never needed a miracle more. But the brusque Highland laird who kidnaps her is a bit too rough to be considered divine intervention.

HE'LL DO ANYTHING TO THWART HIS KING

With rival lairds determined to steal Clarrisa from him and royal henchmen searching for her allover the Highlands, Laird Broen MacNicols has a mess on his hands. Worse yet, there's a magnetic attraction between them, although he's betrothed to another. But even an independent–minded lady like Clarrisa knows that a Highlander always claims his prize...

My Musings:

Clarrisa was raised as a commodity rather than as a person.  She has always known that her purpose in life is to help her family and their royal bloodline.  It comes as no surprise when she is shipped off to Scotland to be the king’s brood mare.   She has never been able to make her own choices in life and when the opportunity comes up she grabs it.  I loved her spirit, wit and courage.  I also admired her ability to separate herself from her emotions and make the best of any situation she found herself in.

Broen is the young Laird of his clan.  The Highlands are in troubled times and nobody knows whom to trust.  Every decision he makes requires him to put the good of the clan before himself.  This causes some issues when he becomes obsessed with Clarrisa, the most wanted woman in Scotland.  Broen is a very typical Highlander hero, at least typical in the romance book version of one. :)  He is tough, ruthless, loyal, mischievous and smokin’ hot.  One thing kept striking me as odd, he regularly allowed Clarrisa to disrespect him in front of his clan.   I wanted him to stand up to her and put her in her place.  I liked when she showed spirit and stood up to him in private but it bothered me that he laughed off the public disrespect.  It was a small issue and one that probably stems from me reading too many Highlander novels but every time it happened it rubbed me wrong.

From the very first chapter I knew this wasn’t going to be the typical Highlander romance novel.  It has a dark overtone from the start.  The relationship between Clarrisa and Broen is doomed to fail and they both know it.  It becomes a question of grabbing happiness while they can or staying away from each other to spare themselves pain.  If you enjoy a love story with many obstacles then this is a good choice.  It seemed that every time they had even a glimmer of hope for happiness it would get brutally destroyed.  I love stories like that and I really liked Clarrisa and Broen so I’m a little confused as to why I didn’t love this book.

I think it all comes down to me not being emotionally invested in the story.  There were times when Clarrisa was in a horrible situation that should have been heart-wrenching but I never felt it.  Somehow I always felt detached from her misery.  If you have ever read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander you might know what I’m talking about.  While I was reading Outlander there were times where I had to stop reading because I was crying so hard I couldn’t see the page.  Highlander’s Prize has similar scenes but somehow I never felt it.  I wanted that type of emotional investment in the book but never got it.

Highlander’s Prize is a very good book, I really enjoyed the ups and downs of the story even though it lacked the emotional connection I was hoping for. 

Ratings:

Overall:  3.50 stars
Sensuality level:  3.25

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