Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Book Review: 'How to Handle a Highlander' by Mary Wine


The obstacles are mind-boggling—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual—that Gahan Sutherland and Moira Fraser must overcome to share a love that feels so right but is deemed to be so wrong. These two ‘wrong-side of the blanket’ characters come from very different upbringings but there is an immediate connection the first time they meet. Good reading indeed!
What a Highlander will do to get the woman he loves and craves sets a string of events in motion that takes the reader to the cold north in Scotland where greed and the struggles for power fuel manipulations that chill the blood at times. In late fifteenth century Scotland, the old Scottish ways and the oppressive new English rule rubbed abrasively together creating a breeding ground for feuds.
Honor and duty to the clan are paramount in the culture. Gahan Sutherland stands proud with his father and his brother Norris as they protect what is theirs. He is compelling—strong, handsome, and intelligent. His retainers follow him with pride and unfaltering allegiance. When he and Moira Fraser meet another facet of his personality comes alive. One can almost sense the pheromones fill the air around these two.
Gahan’s mother was Lytge Sutherland’s true love though not his wife, but by Highlander custom Lytge claims Gahan as his own just like he claims Norris, the son of his wife. Lytge understands love and can relate to Gahan’s actions, but he holds his son to duty to the clan. Yet he looks the other way long enough to let nature take its course with Gahan and Moira. When push comes to shove, the Sutherlands stand together against all odds.
The Fraser clan, ruled by Bari Fraser, is entirely different. A type of insanity seems more evident in Fraser after the loss of his beloved sister Sandra. He had always used and abused his half-sister Moira; but when he insists she marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, she is horrified. She’d learned to endure the pain he inflicted on her and considered refusing until he threatens reprisal on the clan—the people she loves and feels duty bound to protect—if she doesn’t comply.
She bows to his order that she marry the crafty, crude, ugly old Achaius Matherson. Gahan Sutherland is at the wedding and recognizes Fraser intent to form an alliance with Matherson then start a feud with the Sutherlands because of what had happened to Sandra. Although Gahan knows Fraser is the enemy, he is drawn to Moira and longs to snatch her away and make her his own. In a secluded place, he waits for Moira and tells her not to marry then gives her a kiss that sends sweet ripples all through her like nothing she’d ever felt before. His power both inside and out fascinate her. She wants him, but tells him he should not teach her how to kiss like that when she must wed another.
Since I read some of Mary Wine’s other Highlander stories, I recognized some of the secondary characters and enjoyed catching up with what had transpired in their lives such as Saer MacLeod and Daphne who play important roles in Gahan and Moira’s story. Another character I enjoyed is Cam. He stands steadfast by Gahan. Cam is Gahan’s half-brother, the son of his mother. He is Gahan’s bodyguard whether Gahan wants a bodyguard or not—making private matters not too private at times.
How to Handle a Highlander is chock full of evil manipulation, breathtaking love scenes, events at court with the young English king, making and breaking of alliances, and so much more. It is a gripping tales of a turbulent time in the history of Scotland. BUT most of all, it is an incredible love story of two strong characters, though bound by duty and honor; find a way to reach their happy-ever-after.
Mary Wine weaves a tapestry of a tale with adrenaline-pumping action, political manipulation, sweet and spicy love scenes, clan culture, a touch of humor, and a twist and turn here and there that makes one say, “Really!”
Super satisfying romance reading!

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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