Review: Highland Hellcat by Mary Wine

Sunday, October 31

Title:  Highland Hellcat*
Author:  Mary Wine
Series: Highland Trilogy book #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher:  Sourcebooks
Format: mass market paperback & digital ebook
Date/Year: October 2010

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review

Summary from the publisher:

He wants a wife he can control…

Connor Lindsey is a Highland laird, but his clan’s loyalty is hard won and he takes nothing for granted. He’ll do whatever it takes to find a virtuous wife, even if he has to kidnap her…

She has a spirit that can’t be tamed…

Brina Chattan has always defied convention. She sees no reason to be docile now that she’s been captured by a powerful laird and taken to his storm-tossed castle in the Highlands, far from her home.

When a rival laird’s interference nearly tears them apart, Connor discovers that a woman with a wild streak suits him much better than he’d ever imagined…

My Musings about this book:

Readers first met the hero, Connor Lindsey, in To Conquer a Highlander where he was a charasmatic rogue who was setting off to claim his rumored wayward betrothed bride.  This book, Highland Hellcat, begins with Connor finding that his bride is no longer pure and in a dilemma of how to keep a critical clan alliance while satisfying the demands of the clan that relies on him to lead them during precarious times.

I was looking forward to this story because of the see him get his day in the sun so to speak...going from an intriguing secondary character to primary hero.  Unfortunately, I felt that Connor took the backseat to his heroine Brina, and the book focused more on her and her motivations than Connor's.  I was disappointed that so much of the focus of the book was on Brina....even though I did like her as a heroine.

Much of the story is dedicated to Brina, and her unwavering belief that she cannot marry Connor (even though she grows to love him) without her father's consent and be able to keep her honor.  Honor is very important to Brina.  Honor, honor, honor.  By the end of the book I wanted her to throw her honor out the window.   I was frustrated by the need to reiterate this again and again.  Instead I wished the reader would have been given more moments where Brina realized the freedom that fate has gifted her with instead of being given to a convent.  I wanted her to realize that her training to become a mother superior wasn't in vain, that she could employ that training as the laird's wife...and all of the power and good she could do in that role. Brina fought so hard against marrying Connor to save her honor, that she seemed to have missed the point that she could have her cake (Connor) and eat it too (power and importance of a mother superior in her role as laird's wife).  I wanted her to waiver more between her love vs her honor.  If she couldn't have both I wanted her to choose Connor...I didn't come away from the story convinced of that.

Because Connor was born out of wedlock (but to two loving parents who later married) his illegitimacy, and his need to prove to his people that he is the right man to lead his clan, he needed to have a wife whose purity was above reproach.  However, by capturing Brina and taking her outside of the bonds of marriage, could cause any children that they could be subjected to the same stigma and treatment Connor himself received...and what he was so desperate to avoid in his own marriage and offspring.  In the end he goes against what he feels that his clan needs because he loved least that is what I am assuming because this was barely addressed in the book, but felt that it should have played a larger part in the story since he refused to marry Brina's sister because of her impurity.  I felt that it at least should have held the same amount of importance as Brina's honor.

Besides those two sticking points, I really enjoyed the historical tidbits that were interwoven into the story.  Bath houses, the political unrest at the time due to a king that was a child, the importance of the role of each daughter born to man such as a laird.  I wanted to like Highland Hellcat more than I actually did.  I couldn't wait to read Connor's story, but after reading it I was completely indifferent to him as a hero in Hellcat.  In the end too much of the story revolved around Brina's honor, and since she was the main focus of the story I didn't feel like she grew enough as a heroine to make up for the lack of character in Connor, which is why I felt this was just an average romance with little to set it above a mediocre love story...I was saddened by that.


Overall:  3.0 stars
Sensuality level: 2.75

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