Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Monday, August 29

Title:  In Bed with a Highlander*
Author:  Maya Banks
Series: The McCabe Trilogy #1
Genre: Historical Romance 
Publisher: Ballantine
Format: paperback & ebook
Date/Year:  August 2011
Reviewed by: Booklover1335

*This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

Bestselling author Maya Banks’s beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

My Musings:

Maya Banks is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors.  I love the way she tells a love story, and the captivating characters that she creates that keeps me coming back for more time after time.  Which is why when I found out that Ms. Banks was writing a historical romance series, set in the Scottish Highlands I thought I might have died and gone to a kilt clad match made in heaven...three of my favorite romance things in one book:  Maya Banks’ story telling, Historical Romance and Highlanders.

The Hero in In Bed with a Highlander is Ewan McCabe.  The Laird of Clan McCabe who has seen great tragedy befall his family and his clan and takes his responsibility to his people very seriously.  He’s an alpha warrior who expects his word and his wishes to be followed without question.  He is master of his domain, practical, who loves deeply, but also guards his heart well with almost impenetrable walls.  Ewan is autocratic, domineering, possessive, honest and fair…everything you love about Highland Heroes.

Mairin is his Heroine, and unlike Ewan she has lead a very sheltered life.  Hidden in secret she has been living in a convent and has been raised by Nuns. Waiting for the day to assume her duty to King and Country by marrying and becoming a wife and mother.  But being raised by Nuns has not prepared her for the reality of being kidnapped, beaten, escaping a villain, only to find herself in the possession of another imposing autocratic man…except this one vows to protect her in exchange for her marriage vows, political connections and sizeable dowry.   Not quite a love match.  While she has been raised to be dutiful, she is strong willed with definite opinions on what her role in life should be, and finds that living with Ewan is much more difficult and  than she imagined, because his domineering ways would be trying even for a saint, let alone a woman used to a certain amount of freedom.

I was enamored with Mairin and Ewan’s love story and their struggle to form not only an alliance that is beneficial to both of them, but also learning to live with and love each other from the very first page.  In Bed with a Highlander has almost all of the elements fans of Highland Romances expect...warring Clans, kidnapped brides, a despicable villain, sword wielding alpha heroes,  and quickie weddings (and in this instance quickie beddings too, much to Mairin’s disappointment though Ewan redeems himself verra nicely :)  The only things that were missing from this story that I love to have in Highland Romances were kilts and brogues.  Though some readers will be happy to see that a Highland dialect is for the most part absent in the dialogue between characters I missed it.

This book kept me engrossed from beginning to end.  I devoured it in a single day, and at the end all I wanted to do was to grab the next book in the series and enjoy it just as much.  It was fast paced, sexy, suspenseful, with some humor, and conflicts…not to mention heroes galore!  You may be wondering …if I loved In Bed with a Highlander so much why I am only giving the book 4.25 stars…here are my reasons why:  The plot wasn’t all that original, though it didn’t stop me from enjoying it immensely.   I also thought there were some loose ends regarding the villains…who knows they may play a part in one of the two upcoming books, but a hint as to their demise or survival would have been nice.   There were also a few things that just “happened” to easily help the characters out of difficult situations that I found unrealistic and without further explanation or story development surrounding these instances, they lacked credibility and believability.  And lastly I found it hard to believe that Mairin wasn’t more curious about Ewan’s first wife who died.  I don’t know any woman who wouldn’t be at least a little curious about a woman she was replacing as a prominent figure within the clan and within Ewan’s heart.  I expect more from this author so these few things that I felt weren’t explored sufficiently were a tad disappointing which is why I didn’t feel like I could give it 4.5 stars or better.

I loved almost everything about In Bed with a Highlander.  With her first Historical Romance penned as Maya Banks (I believe she wrote a few as Sharon Long), the author proves that she can write a great story with captivating characters in any time period.  Ms. Banks knows her readers well and her audience well, and gives them what they want.  While the plot and situations the characters find themselves in may not be vastly different than many other Highland Romances set in the same time period, the uniqueness is in how she tells their story of love and the connection that the reader feels to those characters...that makes you loath to leave their world.  I think Maya Banks is a genius at creating casts of characters that you love and she has you craving more again, and again.  I also think that if you love Highland Romances then In Bed with a Highlander (and most likely the entire series) will be a must read for you, especially if you loved the Julie Garwood Highlander books The Bride, The Secret, and Ransom as well as stories like Hannah Howell’s Highland Bride.  I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I did.


Overall: 4.25 stars
Sensuality level: 3.75 (while this story doesn't have the same level of hotness that Maya's readers have come to expect in her Erotic Romances, you still have the steamy intimacy between the Hero and Heroine and the sensuality level in the book feels appropriate to the time period and it's more traditional Historical Romance category)

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