Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Sins of the Highlander

Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe

Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: Paperback, 325pp
ISBN-13: 978-1402261824
ISBN: 1402261829

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Connie Mason on the WEB: website, facebook

Mia Marlowe on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Sins of the Highlander



Never had Elspeth Stewart imagined her wedding would be interrupted by a dark-haired stranger charging in on a black stallion, scooping her into his arms, and carrying her off across the wild Scottish highlands. Pressed against his hard chest and nestled between his strong thighs, she ought to have feared for her life. But her captor silenced all protests with a soul-searing kiss, giving Elspeth a glimpse of the pain behind his passion - a pain only she could ease.


"Mad Rob" MacLaren thought stealing his rival's bride-to-be was the perfect revenge. But Rob never reckoned that this beautiful, innocent lass would awaken the part of him he thought dead and buried with his wife. Against all reason, he longed to introduce the luscious Elspeth to the pleasures of the flesh, to make her his, and only his, forever.

With two clans against them burning for battle, they must find a way to join together - body, breath, and soul. Or both will be make to pay for the... SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER.


Both Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe bring different things to the table in their new collaboration, Sins of a Highlander. Mason is the voice of experience, lending her tried and true methods of writing and style to the book, while Marlowe brings a fresh voice with new ideas and attitudes. This meeting of the minds sets the reader up for a magical experience. When you add in a sexy Scot in a kilt, with a brogue to die for... how could they go wrong?

Marlowe and Mason have taken a well-used theme for Highland romances, the kidnapped bride and have given it a new lease on life. One of the things I found most interesting about this book was the fact that the authors were able to keep the plot exciting and unpredictable. Readers of Scottish tales of love probably think they have it all figured out, but Mason and Marlowe prove there are still some twists and turns that even the most seasoned of readers won't see coming. It gave the book a sense of urgency and energy that is missing in some romances. I thought the authors really excelled in this area.

Mason and Marlowe have also provided the reader with a sympathetic hero in "Mad Rob" and a smart, innocent heroine in Elspeth. Needless to say the combination is both tender and explosive. I loved the idea that the hero was literally almost mad with grief for his first wife. His feelings are raw and honest and came across as very authentic. It was also amazing to see Rob open himself up the possibility of loving someone that deeply again. It was almost like he had a second chance at life, as well as, love. Rob is of course the typical highland laird. He is all alpha male. Someone who readers will both sympathize with and probably drool over a bit. As a romantic hero goes, I thought the authors were spot on with their idea of how he should be. 

Elspeth was also a great character. She was sassy and resourceful and full of genuine innocence. She's a young woman willing to do her duty and marry a man she knows nothing about to provide a better future for her family. But she has no idea the kind of cruelty that she would have had to live with had Rob left her in the clutches of Laird Drummond. I thought the authors did a great job of of showing Elspeth's conflicting emotions. She tries repeatedly to escape because that's what she should do, when in truth she is becoming more and more drawn to Rob. The combination of the the two leads is sizzling. As they banter back and forth and rage against each other, the sexual energy is almost palpable. When the do come together, let's just say, it's electric!

Another thing that stands out about this book is the portrayal of the villain, Lachlan Drummond. This guy is a piece of work to say the least. He is cruel and basically evil incarnate. The fact that he shoots at the fleeing pair in the church without regard to whether he hits Elspeth or not lends to that idea. Also the torture and rape of Rob's wife, Fiona lets the reader know just what this character is capable of. Often times in romances I find that a writer who is really good at writing heroes and heroines, has a tough time writing the bad guys. They are such polar opposites. I think the fact that this is a collaborative effort helped to strengthen the character building and brings out the personalities and stories of even the most minute of secondary players. 

In short, this is a great book that readers won't want to miss. Being of Scottish ancestry myself, I always tend to be a bit more skeptical of authors who write Highland romances. That certainly wasn't necessary with this one! These authors did their homework and it shows. The book has moments of tenderness, themes of betrayal, a bit of political intrigue and just the right amount of heart pounding action. Oh Yeah... And some really hot romantic scenes that might require a cold drink or a fan!

Sins of the Highlander is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Connie Mason, who started her romance-writing career after she became a grandmother, once told 48 Hours that she does her best work in bed. That work being writing, of course! For her newest release, Connie has teamed up with Mia Marlowe, a rising star of steamy historical romance. Mia learned about storytelling while singing professional opera. A classically trained soprano, she knows what it's like to wear a corset and has had to sing high "C's" in one, so she empathizes with the trials of her historical heroines.

Connie lives near Tampa, Florida, and Mia lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Credit for putting these two authors together goes to their editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, and their agent, Natasha Kern, who saw the creative potential in this pairing. Both Connie and Mia write sexy, adventurous stories with alpha heroes to love. They hope you'll enjoy the melding of their styles as much as they enjoyed collaborating to bring their new stories to life. 


Kathleen O said...

I have put it on my tbr list...

Renee said...

I want to read this so bad I can't stand myself.