Paperback, 361 pages
Published August 30th 2011
by Random House Publishing GroupISBN 0345519477 (ISBN13: 9780345519474)
Series McCabe Trilogy #1
Though 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 finds her craving 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.
Summary from www.mayabanks.com
Maya Banks is an author I see everywhere on the internet these days, but had never read. I set about to remedy that when I picked up In Bed with a Highlander. Now, if you're like me, you probably look at that title and scoff. Titles like that make me roll my eyes and think pleazzze. I've learned a very important lesson folks. Not only should you NEVER judge a book by it's cover, you should also never ever judge it by it's title. Because In Bed with a Highlander was really really good!
To start off with, I'm somewhat partial to highlander romances. It might be the accents in the novels, it might be the fact that they take place a really long time ago. It could be the fact that the heroes are big sexy warriors.... Whatever, it works for me. And this novel really impressed me because it was hot, funny, romantic and exciting. Maya Banks really knows how to tell a story. And how to create believable characters. I'll start of with Mairin, the heroine, the late king's bastard daughter who is heir to a great dowry. This character is downright feisty. She drives all the men of the McCabe clan nuts once she marries Ewan. She never follows orders, she argues with Ewan and questions him and she's not doe eyed or innocent about it. This is a woman who rebels against the authority of men quite actively for her time period. She's not afraid to stand up for herself, small children or the other women of her clan. But besides being full of spitfire, she's also a very caring woman and in need of something she has never had: a family. Of all the strong female characters I've read, there's something about Mairin that just struck me as especially unrelenting and brave. Even during the worst moments, when she's pregnant and back at Duncan Cameron's keep, afraid and without Ewan, she manages to steel herself against Cameron with a coolness and level headedness that is quite impressive.
As for Ewan...as laird of the clan, he's not used to be defied and Mairin proves something of a trial for him. Their arguments made me laugh, and so did the fact that Ewan quite enjoyed sparing with her. And deliberately provoked her. And that Mairin always rose to his bait!! These two made me laugh out loud a lot. Ewan was a man I could really respect. Smart, cool, fair minded but he really did believe that women ought follow men's orders, and his twice as much because he's laird. He is annoyed by Mairin's constant efforts to escape the men he's set to guard over her, but no matter how frustrated Mairin makes him, he's patient with her. He might yell at her sometimes, but does take time to help her adjust her to her new family and home. I think that was what I liked best about this novel. It was realistic in the perception of gender roles for the day in which it took place, because let's face it, women in the past had limited options and were under the guardianship of one man or another. That could potentially undermine female characters as characters we can relate to in historical fiction, but the novel also contained characters like Ewan that were enablers of women. Ewan takes the time to hear out what the women of his clan and Mairin have to say, and he passes fair judgement so none of the women ever have to feel powerless or afraid in his clan. So yeah, I can totally love Ewan. Especially because he absolutely adores and loves Mairin.
The plot was character driven, but there was an element of action throughout the novel as Duncan Cameron tries to get to Mairin to get to her dowry, and I really loved that while this story line was well developed, it didn't take away from the romance at all. The pacing was really great that way. As for the steam factor...excellent. Mairin initially thinks Ewan has no skills in the bedroom, but Ewan enjoys setting her straight on that point quite frequently. And he completely changes Mairin's minds on her opinion about tongues. I found it rather entertaining that the bedroom scenes were both hot and funny.
4 glittering stars