Taming a Wild Scot (Claimed by the Highlander - Book 1) by Rowan Keats
Publication Date: 11/05/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Signet Eclipse)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Rowan Keats on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Excerpt from Taming a Wild Scot, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
In the Highlands of Scotland, plays for power are fought without rules, treachery and intrigue hold court, and, in one woman’s heart, danger stirs as relentlessly as passion...
Taming a Wild Scot
Wrongfully accused of murder and left to die in a hellish Highland dungeon, Ana Bisset has lost all hope of freedom. But the beautiful healer’s luck takes an unexpected turn when a hooded stranger appears as her rescuer. After a harrowing escape, Ana settles alone in a quiet village where no one knows her past or her reputation. The last thing she ever expects is to meet her mysterious savior again...
Niall MacCurran is no hero, but a warrior on a dangerous mission to expose a threat to the realm. After his decision to free Ana, he now realizes that it is he who needs her help—willing or no—to advance his quest. But his growing feelings for the delicate yet resilient beauty soon jeopardize their safety—and not even Ana’s healing gifts may be enough to protect their love, or their lives.
Debut author Rowan Keats brings readers a new voice in the Historical Romance genre. Taming a Wild Scot is the first book in the Claimed by a Highlander series and the readers first look at the author's writing style. With a lush highland setting and a whisper of the paranormal this a novel that transcends a few boundaries and will keep the readers interest with ease. This isn't your typical highland romance, as the hero isn't the Laird and the heroine isn't the daughter of an opposing clan, which makes for a refreshing take on a highland romance. A great first effort!
The first book in the series and a debut too. That's a big challenge for a new writer. There is a lot to consider. Not only does the author have to set up the book, introduce the world and the characters, but he/she has to build interest and background that will make readers want to continue to the next book in the series. Sometimes the actual story of the first book is left by the wayside and doesn't get the attention it deserves. Keats does a good job with some aspects of the process and struggles with others in Taming a Wild Scot.
The actual storyline has a lot of potential. I liked the fact that Keats made the hero the bastard brother of the Laird and not the Laird himself. There are just too many highland books that use the laird of a clan as the hero, when there are so many other directions an author could go. I also enjoyed the fact that the heroine isn't your typical heroine either. She isn't the wife or daughter of an opposing clan, but a healer who has been accused of murder. That was refreshing start to the book. I am always very interested in how the highlands are portrayed being of Scottish decent myself. And I thought this was an original idea that was creative and authentic to the period.
There were definitely some good points here. I liked the mystery aspect of the book and how Niall, the hero was basically on a quest to find a piece of evidence that would clear the name of his clan. As the hero of the story Niall had good points and bad ones. He frees the heroine from the dungeon. She is bad need of food and assistance, but then he leaves her alone to fend for herself. I wasn't too sure I was on board with that idea. A hero should have done a bit more to protect and care for someone is such obvious need. He is very loyal to his clan though, and it seems apparent that his mission to free his brother was his first concern and that is somewhat redeeming.
Unfortunately, he continues with his un-hero like behavior when he later meets Ana again and blackmails her into helping him with his quest once again. I know this was a plot device to build tension and urgency in the story and it essentially works very well, but there was still that inkling of whether or not to 'like' the hero or not. It gave me a bit of pause. In most romances, readers really want to like or love the hero and heroine and it was bit hard to do with this one. He seems a good sort, loyal and driven, but not exactly hero materiel.
Ana on the other hand was a very good heroine. She had all the qualities I was looking for in a heroine and she was unique. Ana isn't a highland princess but she was damsel in distress. When readers meet her she is left for dead in a dungeon because of the death of an Earl. She is a healer, which I thought was a great touch. There are many stories of women like Ana in Scottish lore and history for that matter. She had a gift, a somewhat supernatural ability to heal. She uses her talents to help others, which gives her air of being noble and trustworthy. The one flaw in her character seems to be self doubt.
Ana was constantly fretting over her situation. She was worried about using her gift because she might be labeled a witch. She wasn't sure she was ever good enough for the hero, when in fact I was wondering whether he was good enough for her. I would have liked for her to be a bit more stalwart and strong like many highland women of the time had to be. Given she did not have a clan at her back and she isn't like everyone else, I was able to overlook a lot. She may have had issues with self-esteem but she was still very likable.
The chemistry between Naill and Ana is undeniable even from their first meeting. It is obvious that these two are attracted to each other and eventually they get to act on their feelings. The heat was well written and staged. Keats did a very good job of building up to the physical aspect of their relationship, if not necessarily the emotional side. The reader may have a hard time figuring out if these two can survive together. Niall is on a mission and it transcends every part of his life, even his relationship with Ana. A woman wants to be the center of a man's attention at least once in a while.
So there were good things and not so good things about this first effort by Rowan Keats. All in all I liked the book and I will read the next book in the series. I have to give Keats credit. This was an original theme in a very saturated market. There is a lot of potential for a series here and I think Keats will perfect her skills with writing a good hero as the series continues. Niall isn't a bad hero, he just doesn't live up to his potential, how realistic is that? LOL The ending of the book answers some questions but leaves others for the next book in the series. There was definitely enough here to make me want to see what happens next. That brother of his is up to something!
Taming a Wild Scot is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Rowan Keats graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honours degree in Business. She worked as a banker, stock broker, and marketing director before returning to her true calling: writing. Born to a French-Canadian father and a Scottish-Danish mother, she has centuries of rich history to draw from when penning her romantic tales of days gone by. She currently lives in Central Canada with her family
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