Second book from the Highland Guard series. This was okay for me. Good but not great. Character-wise I liked it a lot better then the first book but as for plot..kind of meh. My fav so far from this series is third book that follows this.
As much as I admire McCarty's skill of backing up her stories with a lot of historical facts and information I'm starting to wish she would not pack it in so much, especially in one book. It's getting into 'overkill' territory with all the information some that I think isn't even necessary? Here I felt it started to get in the way of the initial story and the continuous reminders of who is who, who's the enemy of who, who's dead, which guard is where, what territory they are on, etc etc etc just makes it hard to follow and kind of redundant and long-winded to read. I felt my head was spinning with all the events and facts that kept getting pummeled in. She gives cues in the beginning of each book to remind/introduce readers where we are exactly timeline-wise and which guard is where. But that's all that is needed IMO. I swear I kept getting thrown off with all the kings, lords, clan names and Islands that were named in here, you really have to pay attention or else you are completely lost. I can't tell you how many times I confused characters up. I just felt a lot of the backdrop *clutter* wasn't necessary in this one.
Aside from that I loved the hero in this, Erik "Hawk" MacSorley. Such a charming, witty, outgoing, delicious, adventurous, saucey character who I couldn't help but love. He meets his match in Lady Elyne de Burgh, daughter of a powerful Irish Lord. This was a surprising switch of roles where the hero was the chaser and the heroine was the 'seducer', in other words resistant to his charms. lol Erik is known to be a big flirt who always has ladies at his feet, he loves women and makes no apologies for it. Ellie is the first woman to not be impressed with his good looks and outrageous charm and he doesn't know how to handle it. I must say the reversal of roles was surprising and fun to read. It's usually the other way around where the heroine has to fight to win the hero's affections and make him open up his heart to love. But Erik here isn't the only one who had cynical views on love and marriage, Ellie holds no dreams on love and always tries to be 'realistic'. Ellie is definitely not the typical heroine, she's outspoken, independent and too serious for her own good and a tad haughty at times. I did sometimes find myself wishing she was a little less serious and loosen up but I understood the author's intention. I guess one of the main reasons this book didn't grab me so much was the heroine. I felt she was too uptight and serious for my taste. She's the polar opposite of Erik's playful witty outgoing personality and it made the story a little stale and less fun. I've always loved the opposites attract dynamic between the H/HR but in this I felt they were mismatched as a pair. Still, it was interesting seeing the two clash and bring out a side from each other that wasn't there before.
While I wasn't overly enthralled with the love story as I was in McCarty's previous books from her other series, it was a nice read. Can't wait to see who the next book will be on. ;)