Wednesday, June 2, 2010

DEVIL’S HIGHLANDER by Veronica Wolff

Publisher: Berkeley Sensation
Date published: August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-425-23627-7
Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via Publisher

As a child, Cormac MacAlpin suffered a devastating loss. What started out as a game between his twin and their closest friend, turned into a living nightmare that he never woke up from. In fact, the nightmare returns when Marjorie Keith ventures to his home with news that another child has been stolen. Cormac is determined not to become involved. When he looks at Marjorie all he sees is more loss and grief. Despite his best efforts to turn her away, his family rallies behind her and before long he finds himself journeying with her to rescue the young boy named Davey.

Every step of the way he berates himself for the loss of his twin and for not being the man Marjorie needs in her life. Yet time and again she thwarts his attempts to have her move on with her life and not try to rescue the ginger-haired boy named Davey. And Marjorie isn’t about to be left behind. She has her own demons to overcome from the long ago day and will not rest until the young boy is returned. When they finally find him, the price may be too high. Two people, drawn to each other with entwined emotions and lives. Each with their own fears and lack of self-worth. Can they find their way back to each other before they lose the love of a lifetime?

In an Author’s note Ms. Wolff warns her readers that DEVIL’S HIGHLANDER isn’t going to make purists happy. She speaks more to Dunnottar Castle where Cormac’s family resides, but it is a good notation for the entire story. While billed as an historical romance, DEVIL’S HIGHLANDER could take place in any time period. Aside from brief clothing descriptions, it could be a contemporary, futuristic, romantic suspense or fall pretty much into any historical period. Granted, elements of the subject matter lend themselves to Scotland of the mid-1600’s, but in terms of the crime committed, issues of child abuse and a couple solving a mystery, it could happen at any point in time. I was thrown off any number of times by modern day, colloquial expressions such as electricity running through the hero or the heroine using “tough love.” Other expressions we hear in every day modern society were sprinkled throughout the book. If you aren’t a fan of historicals, you can still enjoy the story because it could fit in any era.

I didn't find Marjorie very appealing and had a difficult time relating to her. She became annoying in her refusal to take no for an answer and rather than her coming across as a strong heroine she came across as irritating.

On the other hand, the story is mild enough that pretty much any age group could enjoy it as a read and it would be an excellent introduction to romance novels to a teenage daughter.

What makes the story worthwhile is the author’s own emotional investment in the story. She feels passionately about the plight of children in the 1600’s, those that were kidnapped and sold into slavery, those whose family could or would do nothing for them. While DEVIL’S HIGHLANDER addresses one form of abuse, the fact that children have been victimized since time began and still are, is brought home in the telling. More than anything, DEVIL’S HIGHLANDER is a glimpse into Ms. Wolff’s compassion to an abused child’s plight.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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