I grew up reading historical romances, so every so often I get in the mood to read one. When I saw that the new Maya Banks historical romance, In Bed With a Highlander, was available via Amazon Vine, I decided to grab it. I’ve been in the mood for a good romance and I’ve heard good things about Banks. However, I have to say I wasn’t too impressed with In Bed With a Highlander.
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.
The story has all the earmarks for a great historical romance, but there were too many instances where those elements just fell flat. Take the plot for instance – a hidden daughter with a huge dowry is found by the evil villain and then escapes. Except, once Mairin escapes, we don’t hear anything from the villain aside from a small skirmish a chapter or two later and then nothing again until the end. Even then the villain isn’t much of a villain. I really don’t want to give anything away, but I do have to say this, if I had manipulated the situation so I ended up with the prize, knowing the hero was going to retaliate, I would’ve had better security measures in place. I think this is the biggest part of the plot I have a problem with – everything was so amazingly easy. There was no real hard conflict or battles or even verbal barbs. Everything was done on the sly, with very little retaliation, and the villain was absent a lot of the time.
The other part that threw me off of In Bed With a Highlander, and this could be due more to the fact that I read more paranormal romance and urban fantasy than anything else, was Mairin herself. She had the potential to be a fantastic heroine, but she comes off as being this weak simpering young girl. I know she’s not – she has this stubborn streak – but she’s constantly backing down. There’s this one scene that stands out the most to me. In it, Mairin has done something that she thought she should be able to do, what with her being the mistress of the keep and whatnot. However, once Ewan finds out, he not only yells at her for her presumptuous action but humiliates her in the process. Mairin isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but instead of giving Ewan an earful, she spends the next half hour crying. I understand having a heroine be naive in certain things, but seriously, Mairin comes off as a walking doormat. She’ll speak up, but never when it matters. Mairin could have been this strong heroine if only she had asserted herself more.
Even with these two issues, I did enjoy In Bed With a Highlander. It was simple, easy to read and the pacing was fairly good. It was actually a nice change of pace from some of the intense plot lines and overbearing characters I have been reading lately. Well, I can’t really say there wasn’t any overbearing characters in In Bed With a Highlander, because quite honestly Ewan comes off as quite the ass at times, but he does redeem himself in the end.
Overall, In Bed With a Highlander was a great story if you’re looking for something quick and light to read. There are times the story falls flat, but it held and kept my attention the entire time I had it open. I would have like to seen Mairin be a little more strong-willed, rather than stubborn, and there be more interactions with the villain (I mean seriously, how can guards miss an obviously pregnant woman scaling down the keep walls?), but in the end In Bed With a Highlander had a pretty good story. Although, it is very tricky considering I’m now very interested in reading about Ewan’s brothers, Alaric (Seduction of a Highland Lass) and Caelan (Never Love a Highlander) when their novels come out later this fall.
In Bed With a Highlander
Seduction of a Highland Lass (9/27/11)
Never Love a Highlander (10/25/11)