Review: Tempted by the Highland Warrior by Michelle Willingham

Wednesday, August 1

Title:  Tempted by the Highland Warrior*
Author: Michelle Willingham
Series: MacKinloch Clan series #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: Paperback & E-book
Date/Year:  June 19, 2012
Reviewed by: Just Jinny

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

Summary from the publisher:

After years of brutal torture, Callum MacKinloch is finally free of his captors--but his voice is still held prisoner. He'd never let anyone hear him scream.Although Lady Marguerite de Montpierre's chains may be invisible, they threaten to tie her to a loveless and cruel marriage.

When Marguerite discovers Callum waiting to die, her heart aches for the warrior beneath the suffering--but they can have no future. Yet she is the one woman with the power to tame the rage locked inside him. Maybe he can find another reason to live...for her.

My Musings:

My first thought before reading this book is how on earth do you write a hero that cannot speak? Turns out, with mad writing skills....that's how. Because our hero does not utter a word for a lot of this book. And the fact that I could still be drawn into the story even with very little dialogue speaks volumes for Michelle Willingham's ability as a writer.

Even though there wasn't a lot of conversation, I could still feel the deep emotions of the story. And I didn't LIKE feeling some of the emotions. Like helplessness. Callum has been held prisoner for many years, since he was a boy. It's very easy to imagine how a man might be broken by such a life, but not Callum. Through the torture, starvation, and back breaking labor he has a spirit that would not bend. His silence was a result of his defiance. Callum refused to show any weakness to his captors. And even though he didn't spend every moment planning his escape, he did plan on living just one more day.

Marguerite is the product of her upbringing. She grew up in a wealthy household in a time when women did as they were told. And no one did that better than Marguerite. The moments of her rebellion always seemed short lived and her bravado would waiver quickly. She was a girl who knew she wanted something different but was too afraid to really step out and go get it. Marguerite spends most of the book in near silent despair and indecision. She is so quick to bend to other people's demands, even Callum to some extent, that I found myself disliking her. She redeemed herself in the end by standing up to her father...kind of, sort of.

The stolen moments between Callum and Marguerite were by far my favorite parts of the book. Callum's driving need to be with her, no matter what, is sigh-worthy. Marguerite would make me crazy with her waffeling emotions. Callum is so sure, he knows what he wants and he does not care what they have to do to make it happen and Marguerite should have been as sure...but she wasn't. I understand that it was more a result of how she was raised. Girls did not simply go after the life they wanted, especially if it is different from what their family wants. But, her indecision and constant back and forth had me curling my lip.

I wish that there had been more of a conflict. The main conflict that hovered over the entire story lacked the tension I usually prefer in a story. And it seemed to conveniently disappear at the end of the book. There was no real crescendo. It left me feeling like all the time, all the hurt, all the indecision they had gone through was really for nothing.  Overall, it was a nice read. Light on any real conflict and heavy on the 'star crossed lovers' despair. But it does have a nice tidy, if slightly unfulfilling, HEA.

Favorite Quotes:

'Will you love me enough, since I won't have a family any more?' she whispered. 'Until the last breath leaves my body.'

'Don't go,' he demanded. 'Stay with me and fight.'

'I won't let you go, Marguerite. Not in life. Not in death.' He pressed his mouth against her temple, stroking her hair again. 'I've fought too hard for you.'


Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 3

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