Review: Highlanders by Brenda Joyce, Terri Brisbin, & Michelle Willingham

Wednesday, June 26

Title:  Highlanders*
Author: Brenda Joyce, Terri Brisbin, Michelle Willingham
Series:  n/a
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: ebook & paperback
Date/Year: June 1, 2013
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

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

Summary from the publisher:

The Warrior and the Rose by Brenda Joyce

Lady Juliana MacDougall prays for her loved ones to survive battle against Robert Bruce…but the battle comes to her when her lands are attacked by a band of Highlanders, including a man wearing the colors of her clan’s worst enemy. Taken hostage by Alasdair Og, Juliana quickly learns he’s as exceptional a lover as he is a ruthless warrior. But how can she ever love Alasdair when he’s her blood enemy?

The Forbidden Highlander by Terri Brisbin

Honor-bound by an arranged betrothal, James Murray never anticipated falling in love with his intended bride’s dearest friend instead. The passion between James and Elizabeth MacLerie is undeniable, but they are torn between love and loyalty to their clans….

Rescued by the Highland Warrior by Michelle Willingham

Celeste de Laurent is determined to never again live in poverty. After sacrificing love for a secure marriage, she now stands to lose everything as a widow. Her only hope is to bear an heir—and what better man to father her child, and save her from a terrible fate, than Dougal MacKinloch, the only man she ever loved?

My Musings:

I am a sucker for a Highlander novel, so I was delighted to review this anthology.  Normally, I only read anthologies when they include stories that belong to a series that I already read.  All three of these novels are stand alones and although I have heard of the authors, they are not any that I remember reading before.

The common thread between all these stories is that the couples are not supposed to fall in love.  For whatever reason, their relationship is forbidden or doomed.

In The Warrior and the Rose, Lady Juliana and Alasdair Og (I had a really hard time getting past his name) meet when he lays siege to her brother-in-law’s home.  Their families are at war and Alasdair takes her and her family as hostages.  They quickly fall into lust and then into love although his father hates her because of her family.

Of the three stories, this is the one I liked the best.  I liked both Juliana and Alasdair who were not responsible for the feud between their families.  Unlike the other couples, these two did not bring their problems on themselves.

The couple in The Forbidden Highlander, however, are responsible for their problems.

Although betrothed to her best friend, James in falls in love with Elizabeth and she returns his feelings.  It does not really matter to me that his fiance is also in love with another man, I have a hard time getting past the dishonesty in the relationship.

To compound it, instead of standing up to the laird, the couple run away together and hide.  They plan to marry and present their relationship as a fait accompli. Of course, things never run as smoothly as hoped.

I just couldn’t like either one of these characters.  I realize the laird had the power of life and death over them, but I felt they both acted cowardly.

I guess I have read too many Highlander novels where the male protagonist was the laird, so I am not used to reading about someone who has so little power.

The final novel, Rescued by a Highland Warrior, is not as easy to classify.

Celeste chose another man over the one she truly loved simply because he was able to support her financially.  When she is widowed, she returns to Dougal because she needs him to get her pregnant so she will not lose her inheritance.

She seems to be a thoroughly unlikable character.

However, Celeste was raised in poverty.  She lost one sibling to starvation and is the only thing standing between her sister and life in the streets.  She is terrified of returning to the life she knew as a child.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her . . . and for Dougal.

Dougal always loved her and was crushed when she chose another man.  His pride was hurt when he realized she didn’t trust him to provide for her.

I am glad they end up back together because they do love each other.  I just wish Celeste had not hurt Dougal so badly to start with.

If you are a fan of any of these authors, I recommend you get this book.  However, I don’t think you should let it be the introduction to their writing if you are like me and unfamiliar with their previous works.  From reading reviews of their other books, I know these are excellent authors.  I just don’t think this anthology does them justice.


Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 3 

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